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March 7, 1964


JAMA. 1964;187(10):770. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060230098029

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In the last decade, lead intoxication in preschool children has become an increasingly serious problem. Institution of measures to prevent deaths, crippling, and encephalopathy tax the ingenuity of the health officer who has the responsibility of combatting them.

To a toddler, paint scales look good enough to eat. That's where most of the trouble starts. Unfortunately, the cause for pica is in doubt and no adequate therapy is as yet available. As pointed out by Griggs and colleagues elsewhere in this issue of The Journal (p 703), the cases of lead poisoning seen in most large cities every summer are the result of a combination of factors: (1) the natural tendency for toddlers to put anything they can reach into their mouths, (2) substandard housing in which paint and paint-impregnated plaster have flaked off the walls and ceilings, (3) lack of adequate supervision of preschool children, (4) lack of full

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