In Bangladesh, Lead-Tainted Turmeric Takes a Toll

In Bangladesh, some businesses go to dangerous lengths to ensure turmeric’s signature yellow hue—adding lead chromate, according to research led by the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

After a major flood in the 1980s caused turmeric crops to lose their signature color, processors began adding the lead-laced yellow pigment, Futurity reports.

A related study published in Environmental Science & Technology pegged chromate-adulterated turmeric as the most likely source of blood lead level contamination in Bangladesh.

While food safety checks deter lead-laced turmeric exports, the current system is not foolproof, the researchers warn.

There’s no safe consumption level for lead, says senior author Stephen Luby, director of research for Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health.

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