This study evaluated the level of three toxic heavy metals (cadmium, chromium and lead) in four selected brands of herbal bitter preparations sold in Benin City, Southern Nigeria purchased from chemists' shops, using the flame atomic absorption spectrophotometric technique. The result of the atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) analysis showed that Chromium (Cr) was not detected in any of the four brands. Lead (Pb) was present in only two herbal bitters B (28.0 ppm) < S (75.0 ppm) while Cadmium (Cd) was detected in all the herbal bitters with a trend A (3.2 ppm) < Y( 5.3 ppm) < B( 31.0 ppm) < S (45.8 ppm). This observed trend could be attributed to the use of untreated organic manure, poor waste management and disposal practices, and the use of unsafe portable water for the preparations. It signals an epidemiological timed bomb that should be prevented by the Foods and Drug regulatory bodies.
Key words: Epidemiology, heavy metal, herbal bitter preparations, waste disposal, waste management.