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Int J Toxicol. 2004 Jan-Feb;23(1):65-71.

Determination of mercury by cold vapor atomic absorption spectrophotometer in Tongkat Ali preparations obtained in Malaysia.

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School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University Science Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia.


The DCA (Drug Control Authority), Malaysia, has implemented the phase 3 registration of traditional medicines on 1 January 1992, with special emphasis on the quality, efficacy, and safety (including the presence of heavy metals) in all pharmaceutical dosage forms of traditional medicine preparations. As such, a total of 100 products in various pharmaceutical dosage forms of a herbal preparation, containing Tongkat Ali, were analyzed for mercury content using cold vapor atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Results showed that 36% of the above products possessed 0.52 to 5.30 ppm of mercury and, therefore, do not comply with the quality requirement for traditional medicines in Malaysia. Out of these 36 products, 5 products that possessed 1.05 to 4.41 ppm of mercury were in fact have already registered with the DCA, Malaysia. However, the rest of the products that contain 0.52 to 5.30 ppm of mercury still have not registered with the DCA, Malaysia. Although this study showed that only 64% of the products complied with the quality requirement for traditional medicines in Malaysia pertaining to mercury, they cannot be assumed safe from mercury contamination because of batch-to-batch inconsistency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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