(09-11-2013 09:03 AM)dog8food Wrote: Today I found out that now brand spirulina is no longer from Hawaii but India. Starwest botanicals has certain herbs from china. I hear that many gelatin capsules are also made from fish in china. I've traveled extensively through china and I can say it is an alarmingly-polluted country. Herb retailers are not even required to display the origin of their products. I know it's cheap to produce things in these countries but why would alternative health companies sacrifice their quality to save a buck (and perhaps even exploit cheap laborers)? It's like an oxy-moron.
In reality the U.S. is a lot more polluted than we want to believe as well. How many Super Fund sites do we have in the U.S.? And this does not even take in to consideration how many sites are highly toxic but are not considered bad enough to reach a Super Fund status. The various states sprayed with DDT is the past still have DDT in the soil as this very stable xenoestrogen takes 100 years to break down in the soil. Many area are highly contaminated with dioxins from places such as paper mills, PCBs, mercury, etc. With all the talk about lead in Chinese products why don't they talk about the high levels of lead in California wines, which would mean under California law they should be illegal to sell?
The good news is that herbs actually have more strict standards than most pharmaceutical drugs requiring more testing for one. Especially with new GMP standards nearly all manufacturers are following the herbs have to be tested more than ever. Tested by the exporter, the importer, the raw material supplier, the wholesaler by the manufacturer upon receipt and again when the product is finished. I actually addressed this claim in response to this post on Natural News:
Here was my response to this hyped article:
There are a few things you over looked in your article.
First of all not all of the herbs coming out of China are grown in China. China actually imports many herbs that they process there then redistribute. For example, I have seen nopales (prickly pear cactus) grown in Mexico, which was processed in to powder or extracts in China and is then being sold by the Chinese vendors.
Secondly, China is really no worse than any other country. The U.S. for example also has heavily contaminated soil from various sources. For example, do you what is one the highest lead containing beverage products in the world? California wines. All the lead from the decades of using leaded gasoline did not evaporate, it deposited in the soil where it was picked up by plants. This included the grape vines that produce the grapes used to make wine. Look some time as to how many grape vineyards are located right next to major freeways. Same reason bone meal has often been found to be high in lead. The cows were not born with the high levels of lead. The lead was picked up from the soil by pants that the cows then ate.
By California's own laws banning products with a certain level of lead I seriously doubt that most if not all of California's wines would be legal. Of course they are not going to mention that fact since the wine industry is so big in California.
There are also organic farms up in Washington state. So what about all the radioactive material the government was deliberately releasing from the Hanford Nuclear power Plant for decades to test the effects of the radiation on the surrounding public? All those radioactive isotopes did not evaporate either. Like the lead in California those isotopes have deposited in the soil.
To achieve an "organic" certification only requires that no herbicides or pesticides have been used for a certain number of years. Does this mean that organic cleaner and safer than non-organic crops? Not really. Again people tend to overlook several important points.
First of all herbicides and pesticides can survive in the soil much longer than the time required for non-use to achieve organic certification. DDT for example despite being banned is still in our soils as it takes about 100 years to break down. Systemic takes about 30 years to break down.
Secondly, those plants need to be watered. Most "organic" farms are irrigated by surface water that has traveled down from the mountains past all sorts of cities and non-organic farms picking up all sorts of pollutants before irrigating those "organic" crops. Even if watered from underground water sources this does not make it clean. Underground water sources can be naturally or artificially contaminated from various sources such as naturally occurring heavy metals or fluoride to contaminates from leaking septic systems, agricultural runoff or fracking.
Finally, nearly every company producing supplements these days are using GMP certified products. In order to get and maintain GMP certification all herbs coming in must be tested over and over and over and over for contaminates such as heavy metals and pathogens. If these herbs do not meet certain extremely strict standards they cannot be used in the manufacturing process. It does not matter if the herbs are coming from Taiwan, China, Europe, the U.S. or any other country, they are all subjected to the same exact stringent regulations.
Both raw material suppliers who import these herbs as well as manufacturers that directly import are well aware of these standards and therefore test every batch that comes through their doors multiple times since any batches contaminated beyond regulations cannot be used. Imagine importing several tons of an herb that fails testing. This would be a costly mistake for either a raw material supplier or a manufacturer. Therefore, importers will request samples of the batches first for testing, then test the actual batch coming in multiple times to make sure that they match up. When packaged batches of the final product are finished samples of all the final products must again be tested to meet GMP guidelines. If raw material suppliers or manufacturers import and sell herbs that do not meet regulatory standards these companies are not going to stay in business very long. If the herb exporters sell herbs not conforming to regulatory standards then they are going to develop a bad reputation for selling unusable herbs and companies are going to stop buying from them. Therefore, the herb export companies have also cleaned up their act and have much more stringent controls on the herbs they export these days. Therefore, the problem is not as bad as it is being hyped up to be.
And from another post I did on the subject once again in response to bogus claims being made on Natural Health News:
"The fact that the author keeps specifically targeting China just further shows the author has an agenda and will say anything to meet that agenda. Does the author really think that China is the only country with contaminated soils? Does the author realize how much lead is found in California wines for example? In fact, there are places all over the US that are heavily contaminated with radioactive isotopes from nuclear power plants, atomic testing, dumping of nuclear waste, etc. Other areas of the U.S. contaminated with lead, mercury, other heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, PCBs, dioxins......... To keep targeting China either shows pure ignorance of the facts or a simple agenda to bash a country they do not like.
In fact, I posted not too long ago about the chlorella coming out of Taiwan. Examining the Certificates of Analysis for chlorella from both countries I found that the chlorella from both countries had virtually the same levels of contamination from both countries and in some cases the chlorella from Taiwan was more heavily contaminated. Of course that information was immediately deleted."
The point is that we live in a contaminated world. And every country where herbs or even our food is derived from has its contamination issues including the U.S. But again herbs have to undergo very strict testing to meet certain standards before they can be used in products.
Also keep in mind that there is a big difference between herbs, and foods, commercially grown and those that are wildcrafted, which most herbs from China are. Often wildcrafted herbs are even more clean than "organically grown" herbs as I pointed out above. Wildcrafted herbs on the other hand are naturally rain watered.
Along the same lines organic farms merely have to be on land that has not used herbicides or pesticides for something like 10 years. But many of the herbicides and pesticides are very stable xenoestrogens that can still be in the soil. For example the long lives of Systemic or Dioxins in the soil can mean an organic farm still has these compounds in the soil and still maintain an organic status. These farms also have no control over things such as winds that can carry chemical sprays from nearby farms to the organic farms. These are some of the reasons I prefer wildcrafted herbs over cultivated herbs, organic or not.
If people think that China is that bad I would like to know how many of these people would be willing to drink water straight from most U.S. lakes and rivers?