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July 1985

Epidemic Outbreak of Acute Lead Poisoning

Author Affiliations

Oviedo, Spain

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(7):1334-1335. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360070216049

To the Editor.  —In the October 1984 issue of the Archives, Hershko et al1 reported an epidemic of lead poisoning (LP) occurring in a West Bank Arab village. In 1982, we had the opportunity to study a similar outbreak due to the inappropriate utilization of metallic lead to repair a homemade mill. Consequently, wheat ground with that mill contained up to 468 μg of lead powder per gram of flour. In addition, contaminated bran affected some domestic animals and the epidemic spread with the use of their products.Thirty-two symptomatic patients and 104 exposed persons (63% had blood lead levels higher than 39 μg/dL) were examined in a 30-day period. Highest daily lead intake with food was estimated at 0.25 g over a twoweek period. According to the high quantity of metallic lead ingested in that brief period of time and in spite of its poor intestinal absorption,

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