Spices may contain hazardous levels of lead: report

April 1, 2010

Older paint products may not be the only source of potentially dangerous lead exposure. Recent research published March 15 in the journal Pediatrics indicates certain Indian spices and powders can lead to elevated blood-lead levels in children.

According to a study abstract, four children in the Boston area had elevated blood-lead levels after exposure to imported Indian spices and powders. All of the children's blood-lead levels returned to normal after treatment and discontinued use of the spices.

An investigation into Boston stores selling Indian spices found that about one-quarter of the products contained detectable levels of lead. On average, imported spices were found to contain about twice as much lead as brands manufactured in the United States.