Black salt is a type of rock salt, a salty and pungent-smelling condiment used in the South Asia. It is also known as Himalayan black salt. Popularly known in Bangladesh as bit laban, it is a food additive for incrementing the taste of food. But it is not safe for health. Surprisingly, it is used from five star hotels to road side temporary shops.
Black salt is collected from the mines or salty soil. It is commercially processed in countries like Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
This salt may cause incurable diseases, because it contains fluoride in toxic amounts. Research suggests that regularly taking this salt may cause fluorosis (fluoride toxicity). Fluoride is one type of mineral. In our body it is necessary about 2-3mg, and it comes from natural water. Where more than one part/million fluoride may cause health hazard, whereas black salt may contain fluoride 160-200 parts/million.
Though fluoride is mandatory for teeth and bone structure, but excessive presence of fluoride in body acts as toxins. Its toxicity can be compare with lead, mercury or radon gas. Fluorosis shows the symptoms like as dental and bone caries, joint pain, anaemia, mucous membrane infection in stomach, thyroid disorders, skin infection and so on.
In India, Fluorisis Research and Rural Development Foundation's survey said that more than 66 million people are affected by fluorosis in India. They also suggested avoiding black salt enriched or added foods for the betterment of health.
The writer is associated with the Department of Pharmacy, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU).