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QUESTION: Could lead cause the body immune system to break down and bring rheumatoid arthritis on? 30 Nov 2007 Victoria, Australia

 could lead cause the body immune system to break down and bring rheumatoid arthritis on

ANSWER: 25 May 2009

Dear John,

Regarding your question and the effect of lead poisoning on the immune system, I have searched widely and could not find any data to confirm that. One of the most reliable sites is that of the Agency for toxic substances and disease registry, to which I have added its link below. Although I did not find a direct link between lead and rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to acknowledge that long-term exposure of adults to lead can result in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system. It may also cause weakness in fingers, wrists, or ankles and these symptoms may be misdiagnosed as arthritis. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=93&tid=22

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts13.pdf

Regards, Iman Hegazi MBBS, MD. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Volunteer

Also see: Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning

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