A New Brunswick woman is asking the province to ban the use of a substance found in coral mineral powder.
The substance, called fulvic, has been linked to kidney problems, brain damage and skin cancer.
Melissa Dang, from St. James, is now urging the province and the federal government to prohibit its use.
Dang says her family suffered from kidney failure when she was a child and has suffered from skin cancer since she was 20.
She’s also had to change her diet and quit taking a number of medications because of her illness.
DANG says she used the substance for years to relieve anxiety and to help her sleep, and it’s also helped her manage her hair loss.
“My mom used it as a medicine and it worked for me, it was really effective,” Dang said.
“But I guess now it’s not a good idea.”
Dang started testing for the substance in April after she was diagnosed with the illness.
She was told by a doctor she had kidney failure.
Dangs husband, Peter, is also a kidney specialist and believes the substance may be the cause of his wife’s problems.
Peter said he has tested several times and none of the tests came back positive.
He says Dang’s health problems stem from the substance.
“I think it’s probably because it was not properly taken care of,” Peter said.
The health minister has since called for the province’s Health Department to review the product.
Peter Dang has told CBC News he has been testing for fulvic in his wife Melissa Dangs urine for over a year.
“They have been using it for a long time and have not noticed any problems,” he said.
Peter is concerned that other people are not taking the medication.
“It’s a very good medicine,” he told CBC.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in for it, and they have been really happy with it.”
Health Minister Denis Lebel says the province is taking action to find out more about the substance, which is used in various parts of the world.
“Coral is a very important part of the marine environment,” he wrote in an email.
“There is a lack of knowledge about the safety and efficacy of fulvic.”
Health Canada is also investigating the product and will send out a warning to health-care professionals and retailers in New Brunswickers about its use, he said in the email.
CBC News has asked the provincial health department for more information about the use and safety of fulvas.