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May 29, 1967

Lead Poisoning in Missile-Silo Workers

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Grand Forks Clinic, and the Department of Medicine, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks.

JAMA. 1967;200(9):797-798. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120220099025

"MINUTEMAN DISEASE," lead poisoning in missile-silo workers, has been reported once before.1 This is but another addition to the long list of industries and occupations in which lead poisoning is encountered.2 Despite the fact that lead toxicity is well known and industries employ many means to prevent lead poisoning in workers, instances of lead poisoning continue to occur.3 Recently two cases of lead poisoning involving Minuteman missile-silo workers were seen during construction of these silos in this area. Their case reports follow, together with a discussion of errors in determination of patients' blood and urine lead values.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.—  A 22-year-old man, first seen in the Grand Forks Clinic on March 9, 1966, complained of lower abdominal cramping pain and low back pain of two weeks' duration. He had been constipated for several months. Since July 1965 he had been employed to grind red