The experimental observations described in the following paragraphs were prompted by the reports of Holmes and his associates1 on the beneficial effects of the administration of ascorbic acid to persons suffering from chronic lead poisoning. These investigators noted a decided reduction in the symptoms of exposed workmen and an apparent decrease in the lead content of the blood and the urine following the daily ingestion of ascorbic acid. This was associated with an increase in the number of erythrocytes, a decrease in the number of stippled erythrocytes and an increase in the hemoglobin content of the blood. They inferred that ascorbic acid combined with lead to form a relatively insoluble or unionized compound that might be eliminated through the bile into the feces.
The importance of these conclusions, from a practical point of view, stimulated our efforts to verify them. If they proved to be true in our hands,
EVANS EE, NORWOOD WD, KEHOE RA, MACHLE W. THE EFFECTS OF ASCORBIC ACID IN RELATION TO LEAD ABSORPTION. JAMA. 1943;121(7):501–504. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840070029009
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