Dangerous Chemicals Uncovered in Common Herbs, Spices: Consumer Reports Lab Investigation

Several years ago CFL published the results from lab studies revealing toxic chemicals like phthalates in spices and herbs (as well as in commercial and organic milk/dairy products stemming from the plastic tubing used during processing), and two years ago we published a piece on the scientific findings that turmeric is often adulterated with lead. Now a new investigative study has uncovered even more potentially dangerous chemicals in commonly used herbs and spices. Consumer Reports just released a surprising report about dangerous levels of chemicals in common herbs and spices.

“We tested 126 products and found that roughly a third had combined levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium that were high enough to raise health concerns.

-Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter Lisa Gill

Consumer Reports scientists found that in 31 products the levels of lead were so high that they exceeded the maximum amount anyone should have in a day. Oregano and thyme were found to be the most troublesome, with all of the products tested having levels that Consumer Reports’ experts find concerning.

The American Spice Trade Association says it’s almost impossible to rid spices of all heavy metals because of “the unavoidable presence in the environments where they are grown.


person holding green plant on brown wooden table


Grow your own herbs and spices: 

Your Guide to Growing, Drying, and Storing Herbs and Spices