Having been a long time user and seller of Himalayan Salt, I was intrigued to hear of the wonders of Celtic Sea Salt, touted as superior to Himalayan Salt which by comparison was toxic!
On a little investigation, it is clear that there are varying grades of salt which have been sold as ‘Himalayan salt’. Although the term Himalayan salt is a term generally recognised as describing a pink mined rock salt, it is mostly derived from underground salt mines often hundreds of miles from the Himalayas! (typically in Pakistan). Although for some, calling this Himalayan Salt may be technically inaccurate and therefore false, I personally am okay with it, it is after all part of the same ancient land mass. I do object however to some budget versions of Himalayan salt being sold with a label showing the origin from South Africa! That’s a different continent!! AND I have been told by Trading Standards that some cheaper sourced salt is DYED PINK!
Now while we are not denying that some of these poor sourced Himalayan salts may have high heavy metal levels for example, you as a consumer are well within your rights to ask for data sheets before you purchase and check these levels out for yourself.
The Holistic Valley Himalayan salt analysed here is from a reputable family-based company with direct family links throughout the production process through to supply in the UK.
Anyway, as far as I can tell Celtic Salt is harvested from the sea in France, so I can assume is more susceptible to pollution, if there are other quoted sources or tests available I would be happy to include them here for comparison.
I am comparing the results from the two following sources
A quick look at the nasties – the heavy metals
– and pretty impressive,
For Celtic Salt the Arsenic, Cadmium and Mercury are stated as not detected (although the minimum levels of detection were not stated).
For Himalayan Salt, these same three elements show as being less than the minimal level of detection.
These basically mean the same thing, the minimum detectable levels were not reached on either but without the Limit of Detection being stated for Celtic Salt, it is not possible to compare exactly, for example if the limit of detection was 0.02ppm for mercury for the celtic sea salt, a level of 0.015ppm would not have been detected and therefore higher than that of Himalayan salt but I assume that the testing methods are similar so we will assume similar levels of detection!
To put these in perspective, compared with the maximum permissable levels according to food grade codex, all these values were less than 1/10th of the permissable levels so that’s great, lets move on.
Now for Lead.
This has a much higher allowance on the food grade codex than the heavy metals above, 2ppm. Confusingly, Celtic Salt lists this as 0.000076% but this equates to 0.76ppm so this is less than half of the permissable level. However for the Himalayan Salt, the level is 0.073ppm. That’s less than 1/10th of the level in the Celtic Salt, way less than 1/20th of the allowed limit!
This is not part of the food grade codex list so it does not affect its food grade rating (they can hardly add it to water supplies then limit the amount in salt can they?!), however, it is known to be toxic. (Toothpaste often has over 1000ppm of fluoride although it should not be ingested but that’s another matter).
The Celtic sea salt has a whopping 0.000560%, that’s 5.6ppm! Worryingly the damaging effect of Fluoride effect is multiplied when mixed with other toxins so the 10x higher level of lead would be extra damaging here.
So where is the Fluoride level for Himalayan Salt? well the lab did not provide it as its not one of the things required for the food grade codex. Fortunately, an independent researcher sampled some of the Holistic Valley Extra-Fine Himalayan salt and was not able to detect any Fluoride! Assuming a detection threshold of 1ppm, we can safely say that this Himalayan salt has less than a fifth of Fluoride than the Celtic Sea Salt.
I was actually astonished to find such a difference between these levels. In a way its hardly surprising, a sea salt these days is going to be polluted to a certain degree anywhere in the world. It makes much more sense to me to use a mined salt (Himalayan or otherwise) than a sea salt – A mined salt will still be in the crystalline form that was created millenia ago before man – let alone man-made pollution!
Some sellers of Celtic Salt have blindly claimed ‘All Himalayan Salt is toxic’, often without a shred of research or evidence and at best a cherry-picked link to a single sample of damning Himalayan salt analysis from an obviously inferior source. In addition, Himalayan Salt is consistently energy testing to be much more beneficial than other salts – regular, sea, lowsalt, etc and is often tested as the only remedy needed for many minor mineral deficiencies and also low stomach acid.
At the end of the day it is your choice what you use in your salt cellar and kitchen. I know my choice!