Lead Poisoning from Ceramics in the Arab Population

  • E. Manor
  • E. Freundlich
Part of the Archives of Toxicology book series (TOXICOLOGY, volume 6)


Despite the widespread use of hand-crafted lead-glazed pottery by the Arab population, no cases of lead intoxication have previously been attributed to these ceramics. Three Arab families were found that used to eat from such earthenware utensils and were afflicted with plumbism. Plumbism was diagnosed by the determination of blood and urine lead levels and in two of the families by the decrease of red cell delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity. The propositus of the first family was the 23-year-old mother who had abdominal pains and hematuria. Lead intoxication was established and therapy with calcium EDTA institutes. She recovered. Her one-year-old daughter died in another hospital during a similar episode. Family studies revealed subclinical plumbism in her remaining three sons. In another family, a 54 year-old-man had abdominal pains and had a lead line on the gingival margins. Subsequent testing of the surfaces of the earthenware containers from which these families used to eat disclosed excessive amounts of lead. In the third family, eight members had plumbism, four of them with encephalopathy associated with motor palsy. One case was icteric. They also used to eat from primitive pottery with a lead glaze.

Key words

Lead poisoning Lead Glazed pottery Hematuria Jaundice 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Manor
    • 1
  • E. Freundlich
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine B and PediatricsNahariya Government HospitalIsrael

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