Elimination of Lead from the System
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
For sonic years past, I have had occasion to make many analyses of the urine in cases of chronic lead-poisoning. Some points, which have attracted my attention, may have a practical interest for the members of the Society. It is "not known in what state of combination absorbed lead is locked up in tho tissues. An organic compound of albumen with oxide or chloride of lead may be formed; or a double chloride of lead with chlorido of potassium or sodium, as was long siuco maintained by Mialhc.
... ous compounds of lead taken into' the stomach, except perhaps the sulphide, are decomposed and dissolved by the alkaline chlorides normally present in the alimentary canal ; and a recent analysis by Prof. Wurtz shows that a leaden bullet, which had been for many years imbedded in a cyst in tho lung, was corroded, much diminished in weight, and surrounded by a crust of chloride, free from sulphate or phosphate. In that case, load was found in the substanco of tho lungs and of the diaphragm. The abdominal viscera were accidentally not analyzed. The patient had liciniplegia. Absorbed lead is diffused generally through the system, but not uniformly. The spleen contains the largest proportion, and next to that the liver. Lead also occurs in the urine, which seems to be the chief channel of elimination. When once deposited in tho tissues, the metal is very slowly removed, and the symptoms continue for many months after exposure to the cause of lead-poisoning has ceased. Still, thero is no doubt that in time it will be diminated spontaneously. In eases of lead-poisoning where I have analyzed the urine previous to treatment, but after removal from the source of the poison, lead has rarely been present, or at least so very little as not to admit of detection in the quantities of urine usually employed for analysis.