Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Testing food items for lead content

There is serious concern in India about lead contamination in packaged food. Students of science may wish to test foods, as well as food ingredients, from various sources for such contamination. Lead chromate is sometimes misused to color turmeric. Visit

 “Metanil yellow” is a dangerous colorant that is often used by unscrupulous elements to color turmeric powder. It is “the principal non-permitted food colour used extensively in India” according to Nagaraja TN and Desiraju T in their 1993 paper

Effects of chronic consumption of metanil yellow …

Apart from turmeric, various dals are often coloured by dangerous colorants. You can find more information on these topics in the following:

A related issue is of testing water used for cooking and drinking. There is an Indian Standard (IS) for potable water:

It would be great if students of chemistry or of environmental science could test tap water and well water in many locations all over India.  Is there lead in the samples, or arsenic, or organic pesticide residues?  These are projects that can save lives!  

1 comment:

Srinivasan Ramani said...

There is a lot more related to this topic in a posting on my other blog. Visit