Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unusual sources of lead leading to intoxication

Lead was an ingredient of antibacterial ointments until the 20th century and are still sold in rural Switzerland. Traditional remedies including Asian plant products may be contaminated. Beauty ointments may be a culprit including lip balms (Fluri et al. Neurology 69:929 2007).

Serum, not urine lead levels should be checked and porphoryns may be elevated. MRI may show hyperintensity in the basal ganglia. Encephalopathy and motor neuropathy both can occur in adult intoxications.

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