People who like to buy traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products from China should be wary of purchasing medicine that contains pesticide residues.
On June 24 Greenpeace East Asia released the results of an inspection that tested TCM products between July last year and April this year from nine firms in China, including Beijing, Tianjin and Hong Kong. After testing 65 different types of Chinese medicines they found that 70 percent of the samples were contaminated by residual pesticides, including more than 20 types of pesticides mixed together along with illegal pesticides.
The nine traditional Chinese medicine firms include Tong Ren Tang, Yunnan Baiyao, Hu Qing Yu Tang, Daphne, Jiuzhitang, Tasly, Cai Zhi Lin, Hongjitang and Zhang Zhongjing. The investigation found that as many as 48 of the 65 types of medicines that were tested contained remnants of pesticides. Three or more pesticides were detected in at least 32 of the samples that were tested.
They found that the amount of thiophanate-methyl in Tong Ren Tang’s panax pseudoginseng contained 500 times the maximum residue limits as stipulated by the EU, while levels of the fungicide found in Japanese honeysuckle from Yunnan Baiyao were over 100 times the maximum residue level accepted by the agency.
TCM products are often used in cooking as health supplements or to treat illness. Ingesting pesticides can cause chronic pesticide poisoning and lead to health problems, including learning difficulties, hormone disorders and reproductive system irregularities.
Nearly 90 percent of TCM drugs in Taiwan are imported from China and many people traveling from Taiwan to China buy local TCM drugs there. Wang Jing, Greenpeace East Asia’s project manager for pesticides, says that when natural food ingredients become synthesized chemical foods, it can be harmful to your health and hurt the environment, particularly the soil and water resources. Aside from reminding people in Taiwan to pay more attention to the seriousness of the pesticide problem regarding TCM products coming out of China and Hong Kong, Wang also urges the government to put stricter restrictions on the use of pesticides in Taiwan.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)