Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2015 Contents A28
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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 11, 2015
REGISTRATION FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF
The Ministry of Education wishes to advise that the deadline dates for registering for the
2015 University of London Master of Laws Programme (September/October) Examinations is
Friday 21st August, 2015.
Candidates are advised that the Registration Forms must be completed in duplicate and
a) Examinations Section, 18 Alexandra Street, St. Clair
b) Examinations Section, 16-22 Sutton Street, San Fernando
c) Tobago Education District O ce, Dutch Forte Plaza, Scarborough, Tobago.
One signed copy of the Registration Form will be returned to the candidate for submission
to the University of London with the appropriate registration fees. The duplicate copy will be
retained by the Ministry for its records. It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that the
University's deadlines are observed.
Payment of the Local Fee of Two Hundred and Fifty dollars ($250.00) can be made at the
Ministry's Revenue Collection Unit at Head O ce, 18 Alexandra Street, St. Clair or at any
District Revenue O ce.
Candidates are also advised that no applications will be accepted after the
aforementioned deadline dates.
For any additional information please contact the Examinations Section at 622-2181 Ext. 249;
622-1365, 628-8555, 652-0675 or 653-3770.
Nisha Saini has been practicing an Indian traditional
health form called Ayurveda for more than 16 years.
She runs a small alternative health centre in Man-
hattan called New York Ayurveda, where customers
can get massages and dietary advice. Over the counter,
Saini sells an extensive array of traditional remedies
concocted from herbs and spices. But there s one kind
of Ayurvedic medicine she doesn t sell.
"(They re) mostly made from metal ashes. Those
are called rasa products," Saini says. These medicines,
also known as bhasmas, come out of an Ayurvedic
tradition practiced for thousands of years in India where
highly toxic heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury
and cadmium mix with herbs or spices. Saini says she
won t sell them because her American customers have
questioned the safety of those concoctions.
They aren t alone in their concerns. The New York
health department issued an alert recently (at the end
of July) warning New Yorkers to stay away from some
20 Ayurvedic compounds after lab testing revealed
dangerous levels of heavy metals there.
Lead and mercury damage the nervous system and
can cause permanent brain damage and death. Arsenic
can cause cancer and death in high doses.
Sometimes those warnings come too late. In 2010,
a retired lawyer in Iowa brought bhasma medicines
home from India. Six weeks after he began taking the
medicine, he started struggling to remember simple
Over the next eight months, he lost almost 40
pounds. He became weak, tired, anemic and depressed.
"It was only several months later that his wife alerted
his providers that he was taking Ayurvedic medication,
and that there was a possibility lead was being ingested,"
says Dr Laura Breeher, an occupational medicine physi-
cian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, who was
part of the team that treated the man in 2011. When
physicians tested his blood lead levels, the results were
nine times over the threshold considered acceptable
That medicine turned out to have hundreds of thou-
sands of times the Food and Drug Administration s
recommended limit for lead and arsenic in candy or
water. Concerned that others were using the same or
similar medicines, his doctors and the local health
department reached out to Ayurvedic practitioners and
centres in Iowa asking people to get themselves and
their medications tested for heavy metals.
In a paper published online last month in the Inter-
national Journal of Occupational and Environmental
Health, Breeher and her team report that 40 per cent
of the 115 people tested who were using Ayurveda had
lead poisoning. This is the largest recorded cluster of
lead poisoning from Ayurveda in the United States to
date, but health providers and researchers have been
struggling with heavy metals poisoning from alternative
medicinal or herbal supplements for at least a decade.
From 2000 to 2003, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention reported cases of extreme lead poisoning
in New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Texas
and New York. In 2004 and 2008, researchers found
about 20 per cent of Ayurvedic products sold in the
Boston area and on the Internet had dangerous levels
of lead, mercury or arsenic. A group of pregnant women
got severe lead poisoning from taking Ayurvedic med-
icines in 2011 and 2012 in New York City, and two
small children there got lead poisoning in 2012.
The Ayurvedic remedies above were included in a
2004 study by researchers at Harvard Medical School
that found dangerous levels of heavy metals in 14 out
of 70 products.
For some products, heavy metals might have leached
into purely herbal formulas from the environment
where the plants were grown or the manufacturing
equipment used to make the medicine. But concoctions
with extreme concentrations most likely had metals
intentionally added as part of practice called rasa shastra.
Ayurvedic practitioners say that heavy metals can
increase the potency of an Ayurvedic mixture. "If
they re used properly and in the right ratio, they re
very effective properties," says Saini of New York
That s a hazardous view, says Dr Robert Saper,
director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical
Center, who led both 2004 and 2008 studies on safety
of Ayurvedic medicines. "There s such a wealth of evi-
dence in the West that these metals have a variety of
toxic effects," Saper says. "Until they can prove beyond
a shadow of doubt the lack of toxicity, these metal
bhasma compounds that contain lead, mercury or
arsenic should be immediately stopped."
The FDA has an embargo against certain Ayurvedic
companies and specific products. "But they re not reg-
ulated," Clark says. "They are considered supplements."
(National Public Radio)
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Toxic lead contaminates some traditional Ayurvedic medicines A woman prepares
for an Ayurvedic
treatment in India.
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