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Lead Poisoning due to Geophagia: The Consumption of Miniature Pottery
Open Journal of Pediatrics
  • Ashley Marie Phipps, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Heather Fels
  • Mackenzie Suzanne Burns, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Shawn Gerstenberger, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Geophagia (the pica of pottery, clay, earth, or dirt) is practiced before and during pregnancy in several countries, including Mexico, Turkey, Australia, and some African countries, and has been linked with cultural fertility beliefs and the satisfaction of cravings. Unfortunately, consumption of contaminated pottery can represent a source of lead exposure. Concerns regarding ingested pottery are two-fold; first, that people consuming these pots might be exposed to high concentrations of lead, and, second, that ingestion of these pots by pregnant women could result in elevated in utero lead exposure for the fetus. Very few published articles exist on this topic. In an effort to investigate “pot eating”, this study aims to summarize published case studies on lead poisonings resulting from consumption of contaminated pottery. Addition- ally, several pottery items that are sold for the purpose of consumption were located and analyzed. This paper investigates the risk that “pot eating” poses by reviewing the literature, examining case studies, and analyzing the availability and lead concentration of edible pottery. Preliminary research indicates that although it is not common, “pot eating” can represent a high-risk lead exposure for pregnant women and their fetuses.
  • Geophagia,
  • Geophagy,
  • In Utero Blood Lead Levels,
  • Lead poisoning,
  • Metals,
  • Pica (Pathology),
  • Pottery,
  • Pregnant women,
  • Systematic Review
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Citation Information
Ashley Marie Phipps, Heather Fels, Mackenzie Suzanne Burns and Shawn Gerstenberger. "Lead Poisoning due to Geophagia: The Consumption of Miniature Pottery" Open Journal of Pediatrics Vol. 2 Iss. 1 (2012) p. 60 - 66
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