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June 13, 1977

Lead-Contaminated Health FoodAssociation With Lead Poisoning and Leukemia

JAMA. 1977;237(24):2627-2629. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270510049022

A doctor prescribed a dietary supplement prepared from powdered animal bone for a young woman with dysmenorrhea. Severe lead poisoning developed while she was taking the powder, which was shown to be contaminated with lead. The diagnosis eluded more than 20 physicians and was finally made by the patient herself. The Food and Drug Administration, informed of the contamination, declined to take action, stating that a food supplement is neither a food nor a drug and, besides, there are no maximal limits for heavy-metal contamination of foods and drugs.

(JAMA 237:2627-2629, 1977)