An interesting study was recently published in January 2019 in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. It concerned a 10-year study that looked at the level of lead in spices – the study was entitled: A Spoonful of Lead.
Between 2008 and 2017, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tested more than 3,000 samples of consumer products during lead poisoning case investigations and surveys of local stores, and of these, spices were the most frequently tested (almost 40% of the samples).
Lead concentration by type of spice
Table 1 presents lead concentrations by type of spice. Between 2008 and 2017, DOHMH analyzed 1,496 samples of more than 50 types of spices. More than half of the samples (n = 797) had detectable lead concentrations, and 31% exceeded the reference limit of 2 ppm – a permissible limit for lead in certain food additives that is used by DOHMH as a guidance value (for information on spices exceeding other reference limits.
The highest lead concentration (48,000 ppm) was observed for the Georgian spice kviteli kvavili, also known as yellow flower or Georgian saffron. 84% exceeded the reference level of 2 ppm.
Other spices and spice mixes typically used in Georgian cuisine, such as salt, fenugreek and caraway measured high as well, with maximum lead concentrations ranging from 1,400 ppm to 17 000 ppm. The majority of Georgian spice samples had detectable lead levels, with average concentrations ranging from 8.9 to 291 ppm (kvilavi and svanuri marili, respectively).
Spices commonly used in South Asian cuisine such as curry, masala, and turmeric were also found to contain elevated lead levels, with maximum concentrations ranging from 2,700 ppm (turmeric and masala) to 21 000 ppm (curry). About half of these spices had detectable lead, with average concentrations exceeding the reference level of 2 ppm. Various other spices and seasonings used widely in different cuisines, such as bouillon cubes and powders, broth, or soup spices, as well as hot pepper, chili powder, and paprika, were also found to have detectable levels of lead exceeding the reference limit of 2 ppm.
This is of concern, as previous studies have shown high bioaccessibility of lead from contaminated spices and that chronic ingestion of such spices can lead to increased blood lead levels.
Consequences of Lead Ingestion
It has now been widely acknowledged that there is no known level of lead exposure that can be considered safe. In children, a particularly vulnerable group due to their behaviour and neurological development, the adverse effects of lead exposure on learning and behaviour have been well documented. In adults, lead exposure can increase risk of hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, renal dysfunction, and adverse reproductive outcomes. Pregnant women present a unique concern because lead exposure can affect the health of both the woman and the fetus.3 Since symptoms of lead poisoning are often not observed, and many adverse health effects are irreversible, preventing exposure is the only effective way to avoid the health consequences of lead poisoning for children and adults.
Heavy Metal Cleanse
Reading this article, one can conclude that heavy metals are everywhere and very difficult to completely avoid these days – however careful we are with our food choices.
This is why it is important to also undertake toxic metal detox protocols for all the family. The question, is what is the best choice as there are so many on the market?
It is best to eliminate heavy metals naturally using a proven toxic metal formulations such as HMD™.
This can be used by all the family and there are also children’s dosages too.
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