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  QUESTION: Can you be lead poisoned from chewing the rubber of a collector's fountain pen? 26 Jun 2006, Pennsylvania USA

In a recent discussion with some fellow fountain pen hobbyists we realized that some of the early hard rubber fountain pens that we like and some use (and some lick :() contain lead (
How dangerous would it be to use these pens given that some (few fortunately) tend to bite them or place them in their mouth for a short period of time?
Thank you in advance for your attention to this question.
ANSWER: 28 Jun 2006

Dear Antonios,
The use of lead in the rubber may not be at a high level. However, this does not guarantee that there is no possibility of effect. To produce an effect, it depends on the composition of the rubber. Therefore, in this case, it depends on the amount of lead in the rubber as well as the type of lead compound. Many people have a habit of putting the pen into their mouth but the level of lead in the rubber may not be sufficient to cause acute lead poisoning. It seems that there has been no record on lead poisoning from biting a fountain pen. Yet, there is no absolute proof about it. People who are diagnosed for lead poisoning are usually due to chronic exposure of paint and the cases are not usually linked to fountain pens. However, if lead is used as a surface coating on the rubber, there is always a possibility of accumulation in the body (although at low level). Exposure of materials with higher lead amount may add to the lead level in the body. In this case, poisoning may occur.
The best thing to do if you are concerned about lead exposure is to ask your doctor for a blood lead test, I hope this answers your question. Should you have more questions, feel free to contact us.
Erik Wibowo
Volunteer Researcher
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