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Congressional Report Finds Herbal Supplements May Contain Contaminants

May 25, 2010: 04:34 AM EST
A Congressional report prepared by the Government Accountability Office reveals that the majority of 40 herbal supplements tested had trace levels of contaminants such as lead and mercury and that some make false health claims. Contaminant levels are not high enough to be hazardous but 16 of the supplements had pesticide residues that seem to be above the legal limits. The report comes ahead of planned debates in the Senate on wider regulations for food manufacturers. Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, who believes the FDA should have the power to regulate supplements, is leading the hearings. Currently, products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure diseases are tightly regulated but FDA approval is not required for products that make benign health claims. Annual sales of dietary supplements is estimated to be near $25 billion.
Gardiner Harris, "Study Finds Supplements Contain Contaminants", New York Times, May 25, 2010, © New York Times
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