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  QUESTION: Lead and joint pain, 30 Apr 2003, Oklahoma USA

I am a 48 year old male. I worked in a auto battery manufacturing factory starting when I was 18 years old until I was 27 years old. While working there I had high levels of lead in my blood the whole time. The company closed the plant in 1980 and are out of business as far as I know. I have suffered with joint problems (my back being the worst) for 7 years now and no doctor can tell me why I have been to over twenty doctors with no help what so ever. Anti inflammatory drug have no effect. No Dr. that I have told about working in the lead doesn't even act like they hear what I'm saying. Is there anyone anywhere who can help me with some kind of treatment? I am barely able to work and I'm afraid the day is coming soon where I can't work but I've been told I could never get disability. Thank You

ANSWER: 30 Apr 2003

Dear Danny,

I have attached a couple of abstracts which mention lead and joint pain (from Concentrations of trace elements in osteoarthritic knee-joint effusions  and Poorly Controlled Hypertension in a Painter with Chronic Lead Toxicity), plus our lead and ageing info pack. You will hopefully be able to print these out and show them to a doctor and ask the doctor to obtain the full journal articles where relevant (these cost money so we can't afford to buy them but doctors are often subscribers already) so they can't ignore you.

As for finding a doctor, The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a medical society devoted to the education of medical professionals. Go to for the searchable list of doctors trained to administer chelation therapy (a treatment for lead and other heavy metal poisoning).

If you are considering making a claim for damages from lead poisoning, it is vital that you have all your blood lead level reports and that you continue to keep a record of your blood lead level as you get older because it would typically be rising with age. Even if you are not making a claim, it is important for you to track your blood lead level so that you can present the level to disbelieving doctors and perhaps gain some understanding / explanation of your long-term effects.

Best wishes
Elizabeth O'Brien

(Update  2010 See: Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning)

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