Lead poisoning from ingestion of Chinese herbal medicine

Clin Toxicol. 1977;10(3):273-81. doi: 10.3109/15563657708992423.


A 4-month-old infant was proven to have acute plumbism attributed to the ingestion of lead-containing Chinese herbal medicines. The analyses of 11 brands of Chinese herbal medicines by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry revealed that one of the medicines, Po Ying Tan, made by company A, had a mean lead content of 7.5 mg per unit dose; the other 10 brands had lower but still significant lead contents. In Chinese communities, these medicines are used very frequently, without prescription, for many minor ailments. This practice places a large number of individuals at risk for acute and chronic lead poisoning.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Edetic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lead / analysis
  • Lead / metabolism
  • Lead Poisoning / drug therapy
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology*
  • Lead Poisoning / metabolism
  • Magnoliopsida* / analysis
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects


  • Plant Extracts
  • Lead
  • Edetic Acid