Flour contamination as a source of lead intoxication

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1999;37(1):109-12. doi: 10.1081/clt-100102416.


Case report: A 43-year-old man was hospitalized because of severe anemia and recurrent bouts of abdominal pain over 20 days. There was no known occupational exposure to toxins. Concomitantly, the patient's father complained of having the same symptoms. Familial lead poisoning was diagnosed when all 6 family members tested had high blood leads (31-64 micrograms/dL).

Results: Following detailed examination of the potential sources common to all members of the household, the cause of poisoning was determined to be corn flour containing 38.7 mg/g lead. Physicians are reminded to consider lead poisoning in the differential diagnosis of individuals with unexplained symptoms, particularly those of abdominal discomfort and anemia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / blood
  • Abdominal Pain / chemically induced
  • Adult
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / chemically induced
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Family
  • Flour / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lead / blood
  • Lead / urine
  • Lead Poisoning / blood
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology*
  • Lead Poisoning / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Zea mays / chemistry*


  • Lead