Chinese health products potentially dangerous

Health Canada is warning consumers not to use six Chinese products recalled by the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore because they contain high levels of arsenic and/or mercury.

The six products are not authorized for sale in Canada, and have not been found here. But they could have been imported by travellers or bought over the internet.

Arsenic and mercury may accumulate in vital organs, and have a range of possible noxious effects, including cancers, heart and kidney disease, and liver, brain and kidney damage.

The six products are:

-Qili Brand Tongbianling Jiaonang, for constipation.
- Sincere Brand ChuanXinLian Jiaonang, an anti-inflammatory.
- Xiangyao Brand Xiangyao Weian Jiaonang, for stomach discomfort.
- Biflora Brand Fufang Danshen Pian (film-coated), an anti-inflammatory.
- Biflora Brand 306 Xiaoyan Jiedu capsules, an anti-inflammatory.
- Xiang Sha Liu Jun Wan, purpose not known.

Health Canada also has warned about a seventh Chinese product because the Hong Kong Department of Health has concluded it should not be self-administered and could have serious side-effects.

Tian Sheng Yi Bao contains tglibenclamide and phenformin. The first is a prescription medicine used to treat high blood sugar in diabetics, and can cause severe low blood sugar. The second, also a diabetes product, was banned in Canada in 1977 because of reports of life-threatening lactic acidosis.

Canadians who have used these products should see a health-care professional if they're worried about the effects.