Medicine: Poisoned Pottery

Lead is lethal. Once used as a paint base, for example, it poisons hungry slum children who like to chew bits of old paint from their flaking tenement walls. Last year two such children died and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 were affected in New York City alone. But lead poisoning is hardly confined to slums. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of Canadian researchers has now analyzed an insidious source of the ailment: glazed earthenware pottery.

The search began when two young brothers, aged two and four, were admitted to a Montreal hospital with acute lead poisoning....

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