J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 1053 - 1056

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 1053
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030480

Lead poisoning from metallic teapots traditionally used by North African populations

D. Petit1, F. Claeys2, C. Sykes2 and Y. Noefnet1

1  Laboratoire Intercommunal de Chimie et de Bactériologie (LICB), 3 avenue du Maelbeek, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
2  Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH), Epidemiology Unit, 14 rue J. Wytsman, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

When children are found in Brussels with high blood lead level (PbB), over 200  $\mu$g/l, the LICB conducts an environmental study to determine the source of lead responsible for the intoxication. The study consists in filling a risk questionnaire, followed by a family interview and an investigation of the housing. Standard samples of lead sources are collected (dust, paint chips and water). If this first investigation is negative, further investigations are carried out. In one particular case of lead intoxication, which concerned in a family of Moroccan origin, no standard source could be identified. Our case study finally concluded that tea infusions prepared in a traditional North-African metallic teapot had caused lead poisoning. This investigation began with a single intoxication case of a young child (age 18 months, PbB 495  $\mu$g/l). However, it quickly appeared that 18 other members of his family had also been contaminated (PbB 3 ranged from 155 to 455  $\mu$g/l). Faced with this relative unknown lead hazard, the LICB decided to collect and analyse the leachability and content in lead of this kind of vessel (8 teapots from different origin were tested). The lead contents measured in the metallic teapots ranged from 3.2% to 84%. The lead concentrations found in brewed tea varied from 230 to 5070  $\mu$g/l in function of the lead teapot content and of number of daily preparation.

© EDP Sciences 2003