• A Chinese supplement called Emperor’s Tea Pill recently purchased over-the-counter in New York City was found to have elevated levels of lead and mercury as high as 200 times the permissible limit.
In January 2016, DOHMH identified elevated levels of lead and/or mercury in a dietary herbal supplement called Emperor’s Tea Pill purchased over-the-counter in NYC. According to the product packaging, this supplement, manufactured in China by Lanzhou Traditional Herbs, could be used to “help maintain body’s natural balance.” The levels of heavy metals found in Emperor’s Tea Pill ranged from being slightly elevated with up to 3.7 parts per million (ppm) lead, which is approximately two times the permissible limit for lead for certain food additives, to 200 ppm mercury, which is 200 times the permissible limit for mercury. Further, product labeling recommends dosage of 24 pills (3.84 grams) of the product daily. Individuals who regularly use products found to contain high levels of heavy metals are at an increased risk for adverse health effects. Exposure to lead and other heavy metals can damage the brain, kidneys, and nervous and reproductive systems. These findi ngs underscore the importance of risk assessment for lead exposure and blood lead testing for at-risk populations.
Resources for health care providers regarding “Lead Poisoning” and “Mercury Poisoning” are available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/lead/lead-hcp-factsht.pdf and http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/lead/mercury-hcp-factsht.pdf, respectively. For additional information, please visit nyc.gov/hazardousproducts.