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August 29, 1977

Lead in Printed Matter

JAMA. 1977;238(9):936-937. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280100020005

To the Editor.—  The hazards of lead pigments in paints have been well publicized and measures instituted to reduce the amount of lead in paint. Another source of lead that has not been well publicized is lead that may be present in printed matter. The ingestion of printed matter by children with pica is not uncommon. In two studies, about half the children with pica ingested paper.1,2 Lead in printed matter could therefore appreciably add to the lead burden of these children. Hankin et al3 have referred to three cases of lead intoxication owing to pica involving the ingestion of newsprint.Analyses were made on representative samples of printed matter that would be attractive to children: Sunday comics, comic books, children's books, toy catalogs, and picture magazines. Lead determinations were carried out on acetic acid extracts of the printed matter using a graphite furnace in conjunction with an