Volume 83, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The clays consumed by geophagous individuals contain large quantities of aluminum, a known neurological and hematological toxin. This is the first study to evaluate the risk of aluminum poisoning in geophagous individuals. Blind determinations of plasma and urinary aluminum concentrations were carried out in 98 anemic geophagous pregnant women and 85 non-anemic non-geophagous pregnant women. Aluminum concentrations were significantly higher ( < 0.0001) in the geophagous anemic women than in the controls, with odds ratios of 6.83 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.72–19.31) for plasma concentrations (13.92 ± 14.09 μg/L versus 4.95 ± 7.11 μg/L) and 5.44 (95% CI = 2.17–14.8) for urinary concentrations (92.83 ± 251.21 μg/L versus 12.11 ± 23 μg/L). The ingested clay is the most likely source of this overexposure to aluminum. If confirmed, the clinical consequences of this absorption for pregnant women and their offspring should be explored.


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  • Received : 29 Jun 2010
  • Accepted : 31 Jul 2010
  • Published online : 05 Nov 2010

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