The three fatal cases of acute lead poisoning described show the difficulty experienced in reaching an early diagnosis of lead intoxication. A rapid micromethod is now available for the determination of whole blood lead levels on small samples of blood, using atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
Given an increased awareness of acute lead intoxication, the rapid confirmation of the diagnosis by the micromethod, and the early institution of adequate chelation therapy, then fatalities such as those described should not occur in the future.
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