Turmeric is routinely adulterated with a yellow pigment that contains lead

Saturday, August 13th, 2022

Rural Bangladesh has a lead-poisoning problem — because turmeric is routinely adulterated with a yellow pigment that contains lead, PbCrO4. Wow.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    Both the lead and the chromate portions are highly toxic, and chromate is a known carcinogen.

    Lead chromate is insoluble, but the trace amounts it releases are a problem. Stomach acid might enhance the solubility.

    Lead used to be widely used in plumbing, because it oxidizes slowly and has a low solubility. But it seems every review of lead toxicity by the EPA leads to a reduced concentration in the water quality standards. Water companies now must produce a drinking water that lays down a lead/copper/calcium carbonate coating in household systems, because of the near universal use of lead/tin solders in water supply systems. That solder is now illegal for use in plumbing systems, and antimony/tin is specified. But lead/tin solder is still sold and undoubtedly used by handymen in home projects.

  2. Lu An Li says:

    Many of those potions as given by South Asian healers contain lead or arsenic. American pharmacists will not fill such order for those concoctions.

  3. Harper’s Notes says:

    From reading about the Flint Michigan lead problems and various authors over the years I have learned that it’s probably a good idea to never use water from the hot tap for any kind of ingestion and even for the cold water it’s probably a good idea to run a bucket first to drain out the old stagnant pipe water between the kitchen and the reservoir. I’m getting old and most of those readings are, hmm let’s see, forty years ago, so I don’t have cites so much. Also, calcium and lead somewhat compete for uptake in metabolic processes, so as in nutrition generally, don’t be deficient. (But not talked about or studied so much is don’t go hog wild either. And many of the RDA’s seem way off toward the upside.)

  4. Harper’s Notes says:

    Lead and choosing your food sources. (Second comment) The Environmental Protection Agency was largely gutted at the start of the Reagan Presidency in 1980, and those sympathetic toward working with Nader’s Raiders and similar activists were let go. They replace the people at the top with pro-business administrators who probably all grasped the revolving door principle. Then they crashed the dollar to increase exports in order to compete better against Japan in automobiles and in export markets generally including food. So not a lot of food imports, only more so than even previously. Then as the dollar recovered a few years later and food began to be imported more and more, since the EPA and FDA and all the rest of the alphabet departments were staffed with administrators of the Republican ideology of that time (mostly Ayn Randians) (and so completely re-staffed because of the landslide sweep of the Republicans in Congress, it really was ‘The Reagan Revolution’ to a large degree) .. since the FDA etc. were staffed with Randians and other ilk, imported food just basically stopped being inspected for the most part. To this day. Sure there have been blow ups in the media when pet food companies in the USA discovered poisoning incidents from imported Chinese pet food, but those are rare. So anyway I try to buy local food, try to get out to weekend farmer’s markets (but those have been going downhill for a long time- the big chain supermarkets having learned how to skim the cream from those), and the local food-coop which happens to be pretty good and works a lot with the local farmers. I think that helps get the lead out of my food chain. Sorry, bit a long rant here, eh?

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