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Some Folk Medicines Contain Lead

Health departments have warned that a number of lead-based traditional medicines may be the second most common source of lead poisoning in the U.S. Dozens of adults and children have become gravely ill or died after taking lead-laden medicine during the past eight years.

The medicines are usually manufactured outside the U.S. and brought into the country by travelers in their suitcases. Lead is added to some of these medicines because of its supposed curative properties, although doctors say it has no proven medical benefits. In other cases, they become contaminated with lead from soil or through the manufacturing process.

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