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Chinese herbal medicine recalled due to mercury

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According to Health Canada, a natural healthcare product is under voluntary recall after samples tested for mercury came back with dangerously high levels of the element.

Bi Yan Pian, a Chinese herbal medicine used to treat nasal congestion due to rhinitis and sinusitis, has been pulled from the shelves across Canada and removed from internet stores due to mercury contamination levels of 2.43 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day, nearly ten times the allowable limit.

Mercury poisoning can lead to severe symptoms even with short-term exposure, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, numbness, and problems with the heart, liver and nervous system.

Even more dangerous are the effects incurred with prolonged exposure, because mercury builds up in the body's vital organs. These effects can include brain damage, kidney damage, hearing and speech problems, memory impairment, loss of concentration and tremors. Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of mercury poisoning, which are often irreversible.

Any consumers who have had contact with the contaminated Bi Yan Pian are urged to contact their healthcare provider immediately. For more information, contact Wing Quon Enterprises Ltd. of Richmond, B.C., at 1-604-273-5028, or Health Canada toll-free at 1-866-225-0709.

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