Metals: arsenic, lead, mercury and metal fume fever.
Baker B; McGrail M
The toxicology handbook for clinicians. Harris CR, ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier, 2006 Jan; :137-149
Arsenic: Arsenic is a well-known poison that has been used throughout history. Arsenic exposure may occur through intentional poisoning or contaminated drinking water (a worldwide problem). Arsenic is tasteless and odorless and is well absorbed by the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract. Lead: Lead poisoning or plumbism is a particular concern in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal screening of children for lead poisoning and community intervention if the child's blood lead level (BLL) is equal to or > 1 microg/dL. BLLs declined 78% overall in the United States between 1976 and 1991 due to better environmental controls, banning of lead-based residential paint, and regulated removal of leaded gasoline. Mercury: Mercury was used in the felt industty, and patients with mercury poisoning were labeled "Mad Hatters." Mercury-contaminated fish is a concern throughout the world. Organic mercury or methylmercury bioaccumulates in the food chain and thus large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish have higher mercury levels than do small fish.
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