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ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS IN BOTANICAL DIETARY SUPPLEMENT GINSENG AND POTENTIAL HUMAN HEALTH
Huggett, D. B., D. S. Block, I. A. Khan, J. C. Allgood, AND W H. Benson. ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS IN BOTANICAL DIETARY SUPPLEMENT GINSENG AND POTENTIAL HUMAN HEALTH. HUMAN AND ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT 06(5):767-776, (2000).
Botanical dietary supplements have a long history of use in Europe and Asia, but the use of these products is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Because these products are classified as dietary supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not routinely monitor them for environmental contaminants. Ginseng served as a model botanical dietary supplement and was purchased from suppliers in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Samples were analyzed for metals (e.g., cadmium, nickel) and chlorinated pesticides (e.g., PCNB, DDT, and metabolites). Flame and furnance atomic absorption spectrophotometry were utilized for analysis of metals, while gas chromatography (GC) and GC-mass spectrophotometry were utilized for analysis of chlorinated pesticides. Because no formalized guidelines exist to determine risk of botanical dietary supplements, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for protection of human health were used. Metals and chlorinated organics were found in Ginseng samples, but the concentrations posed no noncarcinogenic hazard; however, a 1000 mg/d dose for 350 d/yr resulted in 1 x 10-6 carcinogenic risk in 19% of the Ginseng samples analyzed. At a lower usage rate (42 d/yr), no samples exceeded 1 x 10-6 risk. Chlorinated organics, such as aldrin and heptachlor epoxide, accounted for the carcinogenic risk (1 x 10-6) in Ginseng samples.