NYC health officials warn of lead, arsenic in West African folk remedy

A morning sickness folk remedy recently found in several New York City stores contains lead and arsenic, which could poison pregnant women and their children, city health officials warned Tuesday.

Calabash chalk, used in West African communities and normally sold as large pellets or blocks resembling clay, is illegal to sell. Taking it can lead to everything from learning disorders to cancer and brain damage, officials said.

Nobody has been charged with selling the product, and the city has received no reports of poisonings, but anyone concerned can call 212-POISONS.

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