Health Canada is advising consumers not to use a herbal dietary supplement that is touted to improve the health of people with asthma because of concerns about lead poisoning.
The product, Vita Breath, is promoted to support a healthy “lung energy” and respiratory system, Health Canada said in a release.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that Vita Breath was found to contain hazardous levels of lead, a heavy metal. Ingestion of excessive amounts of heavy metals can pose serious health risks, particularly to children, because it accumulates in the body’s vital organs.
Vita Breath has not been authorized for sale in Canada and has not been found in the Canadian marketplace, but Health Canada said that it may have been purchased online or brought into the country by travelers.
Following a report of lead poisoning in a patient using Vita Breath, the FDA analyzed samples and found it to contain lead at levels 10,000 times higher than the FDA’s maximum recommended level for lead in candy. The amount of lead in the sample also exceeds Health Canada limits. The agency said there have been no reports of adverse effects associated with anyone using the product in Canada.
The toxic effects of lead include abdominal pain, anemia, changes in blood pressure, reproductive disorders such as miscarriage, weakness, concentration problems, weight loss, insomnia, dizziness, and kidney and brain damage.
Canadians who have this product are advised not to use it and to contact their health-care professional or Health Canada’s public inquiries line at 613-957-2991 or 1-866-225-0709.