When tested with an XRF instrument, the Himalayan Pink Salt lamp pictured here had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): Non-Detect / Negative
- Cadmium (Cd): Non-Detect / Negative
- Mercury (Hg): Non-Detect / Negative
- Arsenic (As): Non-Detect / Negative
- Chromium: 923 ppm
Note: Himalayan salt is safe for a lamp but not safe as food!
Please note FOOD items (and water) are toxic for lead when lead is present and measured in the range of single- to double-digit parts per billion (ppb) NOT single- to double-digit parts per million (ppm) — which is the range of detection of most XRF technology. PPM is the range used for toxicity in consumer goods, with children’s items considered toxic at 90 ppm Lead or higher.
One single part per million (ppm) is ONE THOUSAND parts per billion (ppb).
So even if an object is “negative” for Lead – with an XRF instrument – that measurement does not ensure it is also 100% negative for Lead to the level we would want to see for food products. An XRF cannot test for Lead down to that level of specificity; the best portable handheld XRF instruments test for Lead only down to the single digits of parts per million. To determine if food is “Lead-safe”, sophisticated, ultra-sensitive laboratory testing must be done.
How many “ppb” is safe in food?
Anything that is consumed by humans (beverages, foods, supplements, toothpaste, etc.) is generally considered (by both scientists and public regulatory agencies) to have an unsafe level of Lead when it tests positive for Lead in the 1 to 100 parts per billion (ppb) range, depending on the specific item in question (and which regulatory standard or scientific recommendation you look at.) Here are some common current standards:
- 1 ppb = hazard level for water in school fountains [AAP* standard]
- 5 ppb = hazard level for bottled water [U.S EPA regulation]
- 15 ppb = hazard level for tap water in your home [U.S. EPA regulation]
- 50 ppb = hazard level for fruit juice [U.S. FDA regulation]
- 100 ppb = hazard level for candy & dried fruit [U.S. FDA regulation]
*American Academy of Pediatrics
That said, Himalayan pink salt (the kind you would use in cooking, not what you would use in a lamp) has been tested in a laboratory setting and found to be positive for lead at unsafe levels in the 100 to 400 parts per billion range (or higher!). As a result we stopped using Himalayan pink salt for food usage in our home and stick with sea salts instead.
Additional reading / considerations:
- Here’s a post I wrote recently about the considerations I personally have when choosing salt (for cooking) for my family
- Here’s an Amazon affiliate link to one of the types of salt we use in our home*
- I would consider something like this lamp #LeadSafe (and even #LeadFree) when used as intended (not used for consumption as food)
- Here’s a similar pink salt lamp on Amazon
- In general, I avoid using all excavated (land-mined) salts for cooking – in favor of salts recovered from evaporated seawater
- For more help making #SaferChoices for your family, click here
To make a contribution in support of my independent consumer goods testing and lead poisoning prevention advocacy work, click here. Thank you!
As always please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.