Chinese herbal medicines contain pesticide residue
Many traditional Chinese herbal medicines sold in western countries contain a "cocktail" of pesticide residues which exceed safe levels, research by Greenpeacesuggests.
Testing of 36 samples of herbal products imported from China, including chrysanthemum, wolfberry, honeysuckle, dried lily bulb, san qi, Chinese date and rosebud, found 32 contained residues of three or more pesticides. A report by Greenpeace said traditional Chinese herbs were becoming increasingly known and accepted in the west, where they were purchased for medicinal use, and the export market was worth £1.5bn in 2011.
But almost half the samples (17) collected in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands had residues of pesticides considered highly hazardous by the World Health Organisation, although in low concentrations. Of 29 samples of products bought in European countries including the UK, 26 showed pesticide residues in quantities exceeding maximum safe levels set by EU authorities, Greenpeace said.
Tests on chrysanthemum bought in the UK detected 15 pesticides, eight of which exceeded EU residue levels, according to the report by the environmental group.