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Washington state to investigate unsafe folk remedies

The Washington State Department of Health will use a $97,000 federal grant to investigate the use of potentially deadly folk remedies.

Some home remedies used in the Hispanic community for stomach aches, such as red and yellow powders known as “azarcon” and “greta,” often contain large amounts of lead. When parents give these remedies to children, they unknowingly expose their children to lead, officials said.

The project will help locate children in the Hispanic community who are most likely to have elevated blood-lead levels from these remedies. The state health department will develop educational materials about the potential health risk of lead-laden home remedies as well as safe alternatives.

“This project will help vulnerable families keep their children safe from lead. Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick,” said Gregg Grunenfelder of the Department of Health.

Becky Kramer