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QUESTION: Could you advise the name of a good doctor in Australia who has lots of experience in lead poisoning? 14/04/09   Victoria, Australia

My father in India has been detected with Lead poisoning. Couple of months back he started feeling weak & having headaches. Blood tests revealed a low haemoglobin level(7) & High ESR Rate suggesting cancer tumour. All latest tests were done- Bone marrow, Pet Ct scan, identify the source of low haemoglobin. All tests were negative. Then the doctor advised metals test on hearing that he had been taking Ayurvedic medicines---known cases of heavy metal content. His lead level was detected at 85---when the normal range in adults should be 0-15. Doctors confirmed that Lead poisoning as the cause of anaemia & prescribed DMSA--which I ordered from Australia. One worrisome factor is the constant fever that he has been having which doctors cannot point out why...although some are saying that it is due to lead poisoning. Could you advise the name of a good doctor in Australia who has lots of experience in lead poisoning & who can be consulted in this matter?

ANSWER: Apr 20 2009

Dear Satyarup,

I understand that you have spoken to Elizabeth O'Brien since sending the email above. I thought you may  be interested in our most recently put together Info Pack. See below. It is ALWAYS useful to know the current blood lead level even when you suspect that a person is no longer exposed to much lead today. A blood lead test result can demonstrate that despite no obvious sources or pathways of current lead poisoning, lead is indeed currently being taken up. Additionally, the movement of lead out of the bone stores and back into the bloodstream is a complex business and not all the provocations for that movement are fully understood. So in every situation where a person may have been lead poisoned earlier, there should always be a blood lead test done now. Depending on the result, and the person's (or other family members') known previous blood lead results, and the known history of lead exposure, there will be differing recommended responses in following up the current blood lead result. The official policy coming from all the doctors and professors on The LEAD Group's Technical Advisory Board is that apart from nutritional intervention and identifying sources and removing the sources or removing the person from the sources (in order to prevent further poisoning), nothing else can safely be done for a lead poisoned person unless they need chelation because the blood lead level of a child is above 45 g/dL or of an adult is above 70 g/dL. In your father's case, he definitely needs chelation because his blood lead level is 85 g/dL. This position is well-supported by the following guidance documents from the United States - the centre of the universe when it comes to lead poisoning prevention policies: 1. Table 3.1. Summary of Recommendations for Children with Confirmed (Venous) Elevated Blood Lead Levels, and Table 3.4. Schedule for Follow-Up Blood Lead Testing in "Managing Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Young Children: Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention" at (also accessible via 2. Table 1. Health-Based Management Recommendations for Lead-Exposed Adults and Table 2. Health-Based Medical Surveillance Recommendations for Lead-Exposed Workers in Recommendations for Medical Management of Adult Lead Exposure. Michael J. Kosnett, Richard P. Wedeen, Stephen J. Rothenberg, Karen L. Hipkins, Barbara L. Materna, Brian S. Schwartz, Howard Hu, and Alan Woolf Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115(3):463  at I have noted in the database, every doctor who has ever been of use to one of our inquirers, and I advise people to see one of these doctors as well as any doctor trained by the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) or the Society for Orthomolecular Health Medicine (OHM) to carry out chelation therapy and/or urine chelation challenge testing. For example, according to "Orthomolecular medicine describes the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances which are natural to the body." At you will find orthomolecular practitioners who have requested to be listed on the website. They may be physicians, other members of health professions or counselors. The Society for Orthomolecular Health Medicine (OHM) website includes and the occasional practitioner in the US country list there mentions chelation.

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.

As for the extra-hard cases of people who weren't blood lead tested at the time of their lead exposure, we always recommend having a blood lead test NOW to determine that the worst lead exposure has indeed ended - as demonstrated by a blood lead level below 2 g/dL - and secondly, if baby teeth have fallen out and are available, these can be sent to the NMS - National Medical Services, Inc. (phone 2156574900 or free call USA 800-522-6671). NMS offers tooth lead testing as a "special Request" test. They do not however work with private individuals. A person would need to either go through a Dr., Lawyer or another lab in order for NMS to do the testing. Contact NMS at; 2300 Stratford Avenue Willow Grove PA 19090-4195.

Thirdly, if a person happens to be in or going to the United States or Canada, they can undergo x-ray fluorescence (XRF) testing of their bones for lead. Contact details are:

  1. Prof David Chettle, Professor, Medical Physics & Applied Radiation Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, phone +1 905 525 9140 ext. 27340
  2. Prof Howard Hu, Director and Professor of Public Health Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, phone +1 416 978 8989

Fourthly, I refer people to an ACAM or OHM-trained doctor or dentist who knows how to interpret and respond to the results and who will carry out urine chelation challenge testing.

Once a person has been found to be lead poisoned, isotopic fingerprinting is an invaluable tool in identifying the mine source and to an extent the pathways of the lead exposure. See for example "Report on Lead Isotopic Analyses of Samples Associated with the Esperance Lead Investigation" by Access Macquarie Limited: Professor Brian Gulson & Michael Korsch, CSIRO Division of Petroleum Resources, at

Even if a child's exposure to lead is never proven but is still suspected, and if the child appears to have been affected by lead and they are still at school, then the attached article "The Early Lead Poisoned Child In The Classroom: Symptomatology and Intervention for School Psychologists and School-Based Personnel" is well worth a read. Parents can then provide a copy to their child's teachers and ask for an interview to discuss its recommendations.

Lastly, having advised so many people who have to deal with earlier lead poisoning, I have found that many of them benefit from being in an egroup with other people who are in a similar situation. Egroup members can email all the other members via one simple email address, and ask each other questions and relate their case histories in order to get support and advice on whatever issues are relevant at the moment. The following egroups have been set up for this purpose and you are very welcome to go to the website and join (using your YahooID), any that are relevant:

  1. Plumbism & Autism Network (PAN) Autism-Lead Egroup
  2. Leaded Kids egroup for parents, teachers, doctors, carers of lead poisoned children

Alternatively, if you don't have a (free) YahooID and don't want to get one, you can contact me and I will happily join you up to any of our egroups.

I hope all this helps and I look forward to hearing of your progress.

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien,

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