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Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2008 Oct;105(44):757-62. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2008.0757. Epub 2008 Oct 31.

Lead poisoning due to adulterated marijuana in leipzig.



Between August and December 2007, a mass poisoning due to adulterated marijuana was uncovered in the area of Leipzig, Germany.


Retrospective reports of patients with lead poisoning who were treated at Leipzig University Hospital. Analysis of data from the local health office, where marijuana consumers could have their blood lead concentration determined.


At Leipzig University Hospital, 35 patients (7 female; age 24.2 +/- 4.4 years) had to be treated for lead poisoning (blood lead levels 1063.3 +/- 864.0 microg/L). Five hundred ninety-seven marijuana consumers (439 men, 158 women; age 26.9 +/- 4.8 years) had their blood lead levels measured at the local health office. Among them, 27.3% had lead levels above the HBM-II threshold, 12.2% had concentrations that required monitoring, and 60.5% had levels below the HBM-I threshold.


Drug consumption should be considered in otherwise unexplained anemia and abdominal colic. Several hundred people suffered lead poisoning presumably resulting from the desire of drug dealers to maximize profits.


anemia; colic; drug abuse; lead poisoning; marijuana

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