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January 4, 1995

Lead Poisoning Due to Hai Ge Fen-Reply

Author Affiliations

Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY

JAMA. 1995;273(1):25. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520250038025

In Reply.  —We appreciate the thoughtful reading given by Dr Hill and Ms Hill to our article describing a case of lead poisoning in a man who drank lead-contaminated tea made from a Chinese herbal mixture that contained hai ge fen. Certainly, the use of lead in antifouling paint applied to the bottom of ships could result in contamination of sea animals that ingest such paint. However, we believe it is unlikely that sea urchins were the source of lead for our patient.One of us (A.K.L.) consulted with herbalists at two large Chinese herbal shops in Chinatown in New York City and examined a number of texts in Chinese herbal medicines, including the popular Commonly Used Chinese Herbal Medicine Handbook, edited by Ding Hui Xiao.1 None of these sources knew or referred to the use or recommended medicinal use of powder made from the outer covering of sea

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