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To the Editor:—
The report by Drs. Mengel and Carter (JAMA187:955 [March 21] 1964) concerning geophagia is interesting to this geologist who once had the chance to discuss "clay eating" with an old Negro woman in North Carolina. The woman found me examining a road cut, and said the ground had "good eatin' clay." Although Mengel and Carter report that "good" clay is not gritty, my counselor insisted that the clay bed under discussion was good because it had "just the right amount of grit." When asked if clay eating had any bad effects, she replied that her daughter "always eats lots of clay and if it was bad, she'd be dead a long time ago."
Schipf RG. Geophagia. JAMA. 1964;189(1):66. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070010072023