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Chronic intoxication with lead- and sulfur compounds may produce Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease was found in three post office workers who were in close contact with lead-sulfate batteries over a period between 1947 and 1983. The workers had been working in a charging station for lead storage batteries used for the battery-traction of post wagons.

Parkinson's disease was diagnosed by the characteristic features of rigidity, tremor and elements of hypo-, brady- and akinesia. Additional symptoms were: bradyphrenia (n = 3), memory deficits (n = 3), depressive symptoms (n = 2) and peripheral neuropathy (n = 2).

We hypothesize that the parkinsonian symptoms of these post office workers are primarily caused by lead or lead compounds. However a possible toxicity of sulfur containing compounds cannot be ruled out.

Published on 02-21-2008