To the Editor.
—The interesting article by Dr Markowitz and colleagues1 illustrates one of the hazards associated with consumption of food and medicine that are not prepared according to the standards of the US Food and Drug Administration.The ingredient that contained the toxic levels of lead and arsenic was identified by the herbalist as hai ge fen (clamshell powder). Markowitz et al described the clamshell powder as "adulterated," implying that the toxic elements were added deliberately.We offer another possible explanation that may have a broader implication for those who travel in the Orient or who favor exotic foods. Antifouling paint that is applied to the hulls of ships and other underwater surfaces is extremely toxic. It is intended to kill every living thing that would otherwise attach to the surface, particularly barnacles. In that, it is effective for long periods of time. Eventually, however, hardy species such
Hill GJ, Hill S. Lead Poisoning Due to Hai Ge Fen. JAMA. 1995;273(1):24-25. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520250038024