Irresistible Corruption: A Paelopathalogical Examination of Lead Poisoning and Its Shaping of the Mortality and Morbidity Profile of an Urban Industrial Period Quaker Population in North-East England

Summary

This study examined the prevalence, degree and effect of lead poisoning amongst people fromNewcastle-upon-Tyne(1711-1857). Tooth enamel samples of fifty individuals were analyzed using ICP-MS. Possible osteological expressions of lead exposure were recorded: reduced stature, dental caries, Harris lines, anemia, vitamin D deficiency and vitamin C deficiency. 96% of people had clinically defined lead poisoning as non-adults. Statistically significant relationships were found between severe lead poisoning and rickets p=0.0025, and scurvy p=0.0473. Those over the age of 40 did not experience severe lead poisoning as non-adults. Conversely, all individuals examined who were under the age of seven, except one, showed severe lead poisoning.

            This study suggests endemic lead poisoning throughout an urban industrial period population. The correlations found between severe lead poisoning, juvenile mortality and metabolic disease bear consideration when examining health in industrial period contexts, and may relate to social class, occupation, and aid the identification of migrants. 

Cite this Record

Irresistible Corruption: A Paelopathalogical Examination of Lead Poisoning and Its Shaping of the Mortality and Morbidity Profile of an Urban Industrial Period Quaker Population in North-East England. Thomas M Ostrander, Charlotte Robberts, Janet Montgomery, Chris Ottley. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433985)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 256