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September 1926


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and the Children's and Infants' Hospitals.

Am J Dis Child. 1926;32(3):386-392. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1926.04130090063009

ETIOLOGY  The manifestations of lead poisoning in children have been described by several writers, and excellent discussions of the etiology and symptomatology are available.1 Failure to recognize the disease can be attributed to lack of acquaintance with the symptoms, which are in most cases quite characteristic; therefore a brief résumé of the more important points will be of value.The disease is usually secondary to a perverted appetite. In this condition, which is known as pica (footnote 1, fourth reference), infants and children may ingest sand, coal, cloth, hair and paint, the last chewed from toys, cribs and woodwork. The derangement of appetite may be only habit, or it may result from gastro-intestinal disturbances, intestinal parasites, mental deficiency or neurosis. In any event, pica, in our experience, is the most frequent forerunner of lead poisoning, as it is of relatively common occurrence and may result in the repeated ingestion

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