JEAN S. FELTON, M.D.; EPHRAIM KAHN, M.D.; BERNARD SALICK, M.D.; FRED C. VAN NATTA, M.D.; MICHAEL W. WHITEHOUSE, Ph.D.
The addition of mercury and lead to the widening spectrum of environmental polluters has made us examine the use of these materials in our industrial culture and reconsider the relationship of bioassay levels to clinical systems and the mechanisms of heavy metal poisoning. Mining and use of mercury have been continuous for over 2000 years, and in the last several decades it has been outlawed from some industrial uses. Concern over organic mercurials has replaced former interest in the elemental metal. Patients are being seen because of absorption of these metals from various sources and are presenting with pictures of frank intoxication. The clinical patterns are multiple, and current laboratory tests confirm the increased absorption by persons exposed. Epidemiologic surveys have established levels of these metals in air and water, and pharmacologists have identified the systems of tissue binding. Therapeutic methods do exist for lowering the body burden of both mercury and lead.
FELTON JS, KAHN E, SALICK B, et al. Heavy Metal Poisoning: Mercury and Lead. Ann Intern Med. 1972;76:779–792. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-76-5-779
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1972;76(5):779-792.
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