The FDA has actually taken strong enforcement action on the subject. A minimum of three turmeric spice manufacturers– Gel Spice, JM Exotic Foods and Gel Spice– have been forced to issue “voluntary” recalls of their turmeric products because of hazardous levels of lead found in their spices.
The FDA lists the following products as being recalled due to potential lead contamination:
The agency currently advises anyone who has these products to throw them away immediately and refrain from use.
Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal found in the Earth’s crust. Its widespread use has resulted in extensive environmental contamination, human exposure and significant public health problems in many parts of the world.
Lead is, however, also used in many other products, for example pigments, paints, solder, stained glass, crystal vessels, ammunition, ceramic glazes, jewellery, toys and in some cosmetics and traditional medicines. Drinking water delivered through lead pipes or pipes joined with lead solder may contain lead. Much of the lead in global commerce is now obtained from recycling. Lead is a naturally-occurring element that can be harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled, particularly to children under the age of six. Lead poisoning can cause a number of adverse human health effects, but is particularly detrimental to the neurological development of children.
Signs of repeated lead exposure include:
- abdominal pain
- abdominal cramps
- aggressive behavior
- sleep problems
- loss of developmental skills in children
- loss of appetite
- high blood pressure
- numbness or tingling in the extremities
- memory loss
- kidney dysfunction
- Health effects of lead exposure
Studies on the effects of lead in children have demonstrated a relationship between exposure to lead and a variety of adverse health effects. These effects include impaired mental and physical development, decreased heme biosynthesis, elevated hearing threshold, and decreased serum levels of vitamin D. The neurotoxicity of lead is of particular concern, because evidence from prospective longitudinal studies has shown that neurobehavioral effects, such as impaired academic performance and deficits in motor skills, may persist even after PbB levels have returned to normal.