Contaminated spices purchased from poorly regulated sources can explain some cases of lead poisoning that involve several members of a family, say Alan D. Woolf of Children's Hospital in Boston and Nicholas T. Woolf of Lexington (Mass.) Christian Academy.
In one case that the researchers examined, a family had bought two kinds of spices in the Republic of Georgia before emigrating to the United States. All six children in the family had high blood-lead concentrations.
In another U.S. family, both parents and a child had high lead exposures. During a trip to India, this family had purchased a spice mixture that the parents then used for cooking back home. None of the members of the families showed delayed cognitive development or other symptoms of lead poisoning.
Tests of possible household sources of lead identified the tainted spices. Different samples of the Georgian mixes contained from 100 to 23,100 milligrams of lead per kilogram, the researchers report in th