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There are specific environments where potatoes contain much larger amounts of lead than is generally realised. Nevertheless, if we accept the hypothesis that human adults are only likely to be harmed if they absorb more than 100 micrograms of lead daily for extended periods10 then only in rare instances are they apt to be adversely affected by eating potatoes. Medical data suggest that where children are involved the acceptable amounts of lead are significantly less. However, where potatoes do show evidence of contamination by virtue of their high lead content, the possibility of more general contamination should be investigated. The intake of lead from potatoes, if supplemented by lead provided from other foodstuffs, from air, and possibly from water, can well reach unacceptable amounts.
Patterson's12 claim that most people in industrialised countries are suffering from a chronic lead insult, does seem justified but, because of the remarkable ability of humans to adapt to some conditions, but how much this insult constitutes a menace to heath must be dealt with by medical men.