SINGAPORE: Chinese medicinal materials, like herbs, and traditional medicine are currently not required to be licensed by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) before they are sold.
But they still come under stipulated limits, like those for toxic heavy metals, such as mercury.
They include herbs which are commonly used to brew soups.
HSA said it is the responsibility of dealers to ensure the safety and quality of the products they deal with.
As for medicinal materials from China, they will have to meet standards there before being exported.
But experts have said some medicinal material could still contain residual mercury, due to soil contamination.
Fong Cheng Ek, vice-president of the Singapore Chinese Physicians Association, said: "Sometimes, mercury levels in the soil may be high, even in some expensive medicinal materials like ginseng. It is in the soil for a long time and could contain high mercury levels."
As for the dental industry, the government said it is looking at reducing the use of dental amalgam - a filling material which also contains mercury.
But even before that happens, the Singapore Dental Association said more environmentally-friendly dental filling materials are already being used, like the use of composite resin. - CNA/ms
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