Originally Published: December 2, 2017
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 the independent consumer goods testing and lead poisoning prevention advocacy work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC – click here. Thank you!
As always please let me know if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them personally as soon as I have a moment! Thank you for reading and for sharing the posts and articles from Lead Safe Mama dot com1
Owner – Lead Safe Mama, LLC
Thank you 🙂
A N says
Do you feel Himalayan salt candle holders are acceptable to use? Do you believe they release lead or are they safe?
We have been using pink salt (McCormick) for past few months and my daughter is only 3.5! I feel terrible. 🙁
Most her meals don’t have salt (i.e. oatmeal, fruits, veggies, etc.) but she has definitely had it.
How concerned should we be? She seems fine. Haven’t had a doctor appointment since 3 years… should we go for lead test or just discontinue and get the lead test for her at 4?
Is this all brands of pink salt or just that one brand you linked to? We use a different brand so I’m wondering if it’s safe, but I’m assuming not?
Oh!!!! really? I am using pink salt…so I should go back to sea salt… I feel bad that I have been using it for a few years… but thank you for letting us know… I will go back to sea salt…
Doesn’t sea salt contain plastics and mercury?
what brand of sea salt do you recommend? also, I use a ton of pink salt in the past (until today lol) I had no idea– I have a condition where I need to salt my water! is there something I should do to detox from lead? UGHHHHH
Jonathan Farrar says
Thank you for this Tamara you’re the best!
Do you know if the cords of these lamps typically contain lead or nowadays antimony?