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Published on:November 2020
Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, 2020; 54(4):xx-xx
Original Article | doi:10.5530/ijper.54.4.x

Monitoring of Toxic Heavy Metals Contamination in Commonly used Chinese Materia medica

Authors and affiliation (s):

Mei-Yin Chien1, Chih-Min Yang1, Chih-Min Huang1, Chao-Hsiang Chen1,2,*

1Ko Da Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Taoyuan, TAIWAN.

2Graduate Institute of Pharmacognosy, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, TAIWAN.


Aim/Background: Monitoring of toxic heavy metals (THMs), including lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg), contamination in Chinese Materia medica (CMM) is critical for ensuring safe medication use in the pharmaceutical industry. Materials and Methods: A validated inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) method was used to determine THMs content in 1,887 samples for 27 selected types of commonly used CMM. Results: The correlation coefficient of the calibration curves for four THMs were higher than 0.995, indicating that the linearity is fine. The recovery rate was ranged in 82.6-105.4% for four THMs. The percentage of RSD in inter-day and intra-day precision test for four THMs was all lower than 10%. The limit of quantitation in test solution for Pb, As, Cd and Hg was 0.212, 0.500, 0.038, 0.044 μg/L, indicating that this validated ICP-MS method exhibited excellent sensitivity. Among these THMs, Pb and Cd are the most abundant contaminant in selected CMM. In diverse permissible limits (PL) established by different countries/organizations, Cinnamomi ramulus (CIR) and Eucommiae cortex (EC) often exceeded the PL of 5.0 μg/g for Pb. Moreover, Chuanxiong rhizome (CHR) often exceeded the PL of 1.0 for Cd. Furthermore, CIR, EC, CHR, Raphani semen, Atractylodis macrocephalae rhizoma and Bupleuri radix often exceeded the PL of 0.3 μg/g for Cd. Conclusion: We hope to raise awareness of THMs contamination in commonly used CMM that affects safe medication use among farmers, manufacturer and consumers.

Key words: Chinese Materia medica, Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, Method validation, Permissible limit, Toxic heavy metals.



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The Official Journal of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI)
(Registered under Registration of Societies Act XXI of 1860 No. 122 of 1966-1967, Lucknow)

Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (IJPER) [ISSN-0019-5464] is the official journal of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI) and is being published since 1967.


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