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BMJ. 2009 Dec 4;339:b5038. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b5038.

Lead poisoning as possible cause of deaths at the Swedish House at Kapp Thordsen, Spitsbergen, winter 1872-3.

Author information

1
Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway. ulf.aasebo@unn.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate cause of death in 17 sealers who died in the Swedish house in Kapp Thordsen, Spitsbergen, during the winter of 1872-3.

DESIGN:

Analysis of skeletal samples from one sealer's grave.

SETTING:

Field trip to Spitsbergen to exhume skeletal remains.

SUBJECTS:

One of 17 sailors who died in 1872-3.

RESULTS:

No objective signs of scurvy were found. The concentration of lead in the bone samples was 102.05 microg/g.

CONCLUSIONS:

The high concentrations of lead indicate that this man died from lead poisoning, probably from food tins. The absence of macroscopic signs of scurvy supports this theory.

PMID:
19965937
PMCID:
PMC2789173
DOI:
10.1136/bmj.b5038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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