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  QUESTION: Clients with tremors & lead exposure / skin absorption from wristband lead weights, 25 Nov 2006, Victoria Australia

Working as an occupational therapist, with clients with tremors, I wish to stabilise their hand while writing with a weighted wristband. Would a neoprene (wetsuit fabric) or plastic lined leather be a suitable barrier to prevent any risk of skin absorption of lead?

Your reply will guide my practices


ANSWER: 25 Nov 2006

Dear Madam,

I wonder whether you are aware that essential tremor has been linked to lead exposure? Please see the attached abstract: "Association Between Essential Tremor and Blood Lead Concentration" Elan D Louis, Eva C Jurewicz, LaKeisha Applegate, Pam Factor-Litvak, Michael Parides, Leslie Andrews, Vesna Slavkovich, Joseph H Graziano, Spencer Carroll, and Andrew Todd Environ Health Perspect. 2003 November; 111(14): 17071711. Where you will find the statement:

  "Determining whether this association is due to increased exposure to lead or a difference in lead kinetics in ET patients requires further investigation."

Perhaps you can work with a doctor to organise blood lead (PbB) tests for your clients with tremor. It would be fascinating don't you think, to see whether any of them improve with chelation therapy or other heavy metal detox methods?

The answer to your question could also be demonstrated by follow-up blood lead testing after wearing of the neoprene or plastic-lined leather lead-weighted wristbands. My guess is that either material would be suitable but you should keep in mind that more lead absorption occurs across sweaty skin than dry skin, so perhaps the neoprene would be better.

I'd be very glad of the opportunity to discuss these issues further with you or your clients' doctor/s.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien


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