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October 1969


Author Affiliations

East Meadow, NY

Am J Dis Child. 1969;118(4):668. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100040670026

To the Editor.—The problem of starch eaters anemia1 and other manifestations like parotid enlargement2 and gastric obstruction3 has received little attention in the world literature, although Ferguson and Keaton4 reported that in rural Mississippi, 39% of the pregnant women in the study were eating laundry starch.

Almost all the reports deal with women (particularly pregnant women). The habit seems almost confined to the Negro race; the amount eaten ranges from a few lumps up to a few boxes a day (a box contains a pound of laundry starch).1

I wish to call attention to the occurrence of this habit in a very young child. The patient was a 16-month-old Negro boy when brought to the clinic at Meadowbrook Hos pital because of pallor. There was no history of bleeding or other complaint apart from an upper-respiratory tract infection three days before admission. The mother stated that the reports deal with

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