During the years 1952 to 1954 in Baltimore, Maryland, 197 lead-exposed children were studied, including 89 with acute encephalopathy. Of those with acute encephalopathy, 4 children died and 23 had severe sequelae such as severe mental retardation, behavior disorder, or recurrent convulsions. These poisonings were caused by the ingestion of lead-based paint. Strikingly, even ingestion of very small quantities of paint flakes was associated with serious illness. Illness onset was most often in the summer season. Lead exposure in children who were originally used as unexposed control subjects was found to be significant as well, indicating that lead exposure as a child health problem is much more extensive than heretofore thought to exist. The only adequate protective measure is removal of lead from the child's environment.

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