Warning: Some Chinese Herbs Could be Tainted with Pesticides

Chinese herbal medicine is a popular and well-known form of complementary healing. Now, however, environmental group Greenpeace claims that these very herbs could actually have a dangerous and damaging effect on your wellness. The group claims that herbs purchased from stores in Hong Kong and China could contain very high levels of some types of harmful pesticide.

The group cites in particular a sample they took from a herb called the San Qi flower, which they purchased from Tong Ren Tang, a popular chain in Beijing. When tested for potential negative effects on human wellbeing, it was found that the herb contained more than 500 times the European Union’s recommended safety limit for a type of restricted pesticide. Another herb tested by the group was 100 times over this limit. The Beijing Tong Ren Tang chain refused to comment on the situation.

In total, Greenpeace sampled 65 different herbs and found that 51 of these were contaminated with pesticides. Out of that 51, 26 were contaminated with chemicals that have previously been classified as ‘extremely or highly hazardous’ by the World Health Organisation. Jin Wang, a project leader with Greenpeace says that this unequivocally means that these herbs are of a very doubtful quality and are not safe for human consumption.

The pesticides found on the herbs not only post a risk to the consumers who purchase them, but to the farmers who are coming into contact with them. The charity claims that some of the pesticides they found were even very old and obsolete, and were highly dangerous, meaning that just one small dose could cause toxicity or sickness in the human body. Other pesticides found could affect the human immune system in a variety of negative ways, whilst others still are thought to have a harmful effect on the development of children’s brains.


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