Childhood lead poisoning associated with tamarind candy and folk remedies--California, 1999-2000

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Aug 9;51(31):684-6.


Lead poisoning affects children adversely worldwide. In the United States, elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) (>10 microg/dL) result primarily from exposure to lead-based paint or from associated lead-contaminated dust and soil; however, other sources of lead exposure, including folk remedies, Mexican terra cotta pottery, and certain imported candies, also have been associated with elevated BLLs in children. This report describes five cases in California of lead poisoning from atypical sources. Health-care providers should be aware of the potential hazards of certain food products, and community members should be educated about potential sources of lead poisoning for children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • California / epidemiology
  • Candy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Lead
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Mexico
  • Tamarindus*


  • Lead
  • lead tetroxide