A case of lead poisoning from folk remedies in Mexican American Communities

Robert T. Trotter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Three sources of lead poisoning most commonly affect children in the United States: eating lead-based paint chips, living and playing near a smelter where even the dust has a high lead content, and eating off pottery with an improperly treated lead glaze. In this chapter, the author describes the discovery of a fourth source of lead poisoning, one resulting from folk medicine practices in Mexican American communities. The discovery of greta in Texas caused the regional office of Health and Human Services to request his assistance in creating and executing a survey along the US/Mexican border to discover how much knowledge people had about greta and azarcon and how many people used them. The wide geographical distribution of greta and azarcon use, their employment as traditional remedies, and their inclusion in the treatment of a folk illness made this problem ideal for intervention by an anthropologist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnthropological Praxis
Subtitle of host publicationTranslating Knowledge Into Action
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429698040
ISBN (Print)0813303133, 9780367013769
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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