Abstract YOUNG CHILDREN are well known to mouth or ingest substances that are not normally regarded as edible, and this is recognized to be a normal phase of development. Persistence of the activity of ingesting non-edible substances after the age of 18 months has been regarded as abnormal (Lourie et al1), and the term "pica" has been applied to this. Parents often regard the practice as being relatively benign; however, associated hazards that have been reported include lead poisoning and infestation with parasites. It has been claimed that 24% of children with pica also had "probable lead poisoning" (Jacobziner and Raybin),2 and a high level of blood lead was found to be related to a history of pica more often than to any other commonly employed parameter used in the detection of lead poisoning (Bradley et al).3 An example of parasitic infestation is that of toxocariasis following pica References 1. Lourie, R.S.; Layman, E.M.; and Millican, F.K.: Why Children Eat Things That Are Not Food , Chil dren 10:143-146, 1963. 2. Jacobziner, H., and Raybin, H.W.: The Epidemiology of Lead Poisoning in Children , Arch Pediat 79:72-76, 1962. 3. Bradley, J.E., et al: Incidence of Abnormal Levels of Lead in a Metropolitan Pediatric Clinic, With Observations on the Value of Coproporphyrinuria as a Screening Test , J Pediat 49:1-6, 1956.Crossref 4. Shrand, H.: Visceral Larva Migrans: Toxocara Canis Infection , Lancet 1:1357-1359, 1964.Crossref 5. Jacobziner, H., and Raybin, H.W.: Lead Poisoning in Young Children: Fatal and Non-Fatal , New York J Med 60:273-277, 1960. 6. Cooper, M.: Pica , Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 1957, p 65. 7. Millican, F.K., et al: The Prevalence of Ingestion and Mouthing of Non-Edible Substances by Children , Clin Proc Child Hosp Wash 18:207-214, 1962. 8. Dickins, D., and Ford, R.N.: Geophagy (Dirt Eating) Among Mississippi Negro School Children , Amer Sociol Rev 7:59-65, 1942.Crossref 9. Ferguson, J.H., and Keaton, A.G.: Studies on the Diet of Pregnant Women in Mississippi: Ingestion of Clay and Laundry Starch , New Orleans Med Surg J , 102:460-463, 1950. 10. Allan, J.D., and Woodruff, J.: Starch Gastrolith, Report of a Case of Obstruction , New Eng J Med 268:776-778, 1963.Crossref 11. Lanzkowsky, P.: Investigation Into the Aetiology and Treatment of Pica , Arch Dis Child 34: 140-148, 1959.Crossref 12. Weippl, G.: Anaemia With Geophagia in Early Childhood , Arch Kinderheilk 160:142-146, 1959. 13. Ber, R., and Valero, A.: Pica and Hypochromic Anaemia: A Survey of 14 Cases Seen in Israel , Hebrew Med J 61:35-39, 1961. 14. Carlander, O.: Aetiology of Pica , Lancet 2: 569, 1959.Crossref 15. Barltrop, D.: Aetiology of Pica , Lancet 2:515, 1959.Crossref 16. Gutelius, M.F., et al: Nutritional Studies of Children With Pica: 1. Controlled Study Evaluating Nutritional Status , Pediatrics 29:1012-1023, 1962. 17. Gutelius, M.F., et al: Treatment of Pica With a Vitamin and Mineral Supplements , Amer J Clin Nutr 12:388-393, 1963. 18. Richter, C.P.: Total Self-Regulatory Functions in Animals and Human Beings , Harvey Lect 38:63-103, 1942-1943. 19. Davis, C.M.: Results of Self-Selection of Diets By Young Children , Canad Med Assoc J 41:257-261, 1939. 20. Lourie, R.S., et al: Problems of Addiction and Habituation , P. H. Hoch, and J. Zubin, (eds.), New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1958, p 78. 21. US Statistical Abstract , ed 85, US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1964. 22. Hollingshead, A.B., and Redlich, F.C.: Social Mobility and Mental Illness , Amer J Psychiat 112: 179-185, 1955. 23. Hollingshead, A.B., and Redlich, F.C.: Social Class and Mental Illness: A Community Study , New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1958, pp 387-397.
American Journal of Diseases of Children – American Medical Association
Published: Aug 1, 1966