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A. The Threat of Certain Herbal Products on the Internet

Narrator: This is Science Today. A Chinese herbal product known to cause kidney failure and cancer has been banned for importation by the FDA but is readily available on the Internet. Lois Swirsky Gold, the director of the Carcinogenic Potency Project at the University of California, Berkeley, has been tracking the herb, which contains a toxin called aristolochic acid.

Gold: It turned out to be a very potent carcinogen, meaning it caused tumors in rats at very low doses and it caused the tumors very quickly and in multiple target organs.

Narrator: Gold says the sale of dangerous herbal products over the Web is an imminent threat to human health.

Gold: We looked on the Web and found 19 products that they said contained Aristolochia and another 95 products that said they contained a plant that Aristolochia can be substituted for! None of these are supposed to be available to American consumers, but they're all over the Web.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.