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Women got lead poisoning from remedies

Aug. 24, 2012 at 12:51 AM

ATLANTA, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Foreign-born pregnant women in the United States might be at increased risk for lead poisoning due to foreign products and past exposures, U.S. researchers say.

A report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said the body's demand for calcium increases during pregnancy to support fetal bone development, which might release bone stores of lead.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene investigated six cases of lead poisoning associated with the use of 10 oral Ayurvedic medications -- Hindu traditional medicine native to India -- in 2011-2012.

"All six cases were in foreign-born pregnant women assessed for lead exposure risk by healthcare providers during prenatal visits, as required by New York state law," the report said. "Lead concentrations of the medications were as high as 2.4 percent; several medications also contained mercury or arsenic, which also can have adverse health effects."

Healthcare providers should ask patients, especially foreign-born or pregnant patients, about any use of foreign health products, supplements and remedies such as Ayurvedic medications, CDC officials advised.

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