Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Testing for heavy metals to be made compulsory

NEW DELHI: Testing for heavy metals in herbal medicines will be made compulsory from January 1, 2006. Licensed manufacturers of ayurvedic, unani and siddha medicines will have to carry "heavy metals within permissible limits" label on the containers meant for export. Such labelling will also become mandatory from next year, an official spokesperson said here on Monday. The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has issued a notification in this regard under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940, making testing for heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium mandatory.

The permissible limits recommended by the World Health Organisation on "quality control methods for medicinal plants and materials" would be followed. In the case of mercury, the permissible limit will be one part per million (PPM).

Manufacturers who do not have in-house laboratory facilities would have to get their drugs tested by any approved laboratory, the spokesperson said.

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