Research: The Centers for Disease Control

Listed in Issue 125


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported on lead poisoning associated with the use of litargirio, or lead monoxide, as an anti-perspirant. Abstract: Lead can damage the nervous system, the blood and the kidneys. Deteriorated lead paint in older houses remains the most common source of lead exposure for children in the United States; however, other lead sources increasingly are recognized, particularly among certain ethnic populations. In 2003, the Rhode Island Department of Health recognized litargirio (also known as litharge or lead monoxide), a yellow or peach-coloured powder used as an antiperspirant/deodorant and a folk remedy in the Hispanic community, as a potential source of lead exposure for Hispanic children. This report summarizes a case investigation of elevated blood lead levels of at least 10 microg/100 ml blood associated with litargirio use among two siblings in Rhode Island. The public health action taken is described, and a survey of parents/guardians in three pediatric clinics in Providence was undertaken, in order to assess litargirio use. Findings underscore the importance of follow-up of elevated levels of lead in blood and thorough investigation to identify all potential sources of lead.






Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lead poisoning associated with use of litargirio—Rhode Island, 20033. MMWR – Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 54 (9): 227-229, Mar 11, 2005.

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