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Lead Poisoning in the News: Beethoven’s Deafness

Lead was the reason for the maestro’s deafness and other problems. This news from the New York Times.

The New York Times reports on historians and scientists discovering that Beethoven was poisoned by lead and other toxins. The lead in his hair was off the scale compared to lead poisoning cases today.

Was he eating paint with lead? Not funny. He was drinking a lot of wine. When I say ‘a lot’, I mean a lot, and in those days they added lead acetate also called ‘lead sugar’ to cheap wines because it has a sweet taste.

Quoting the Times:

Beethoven had,  “high doses of lead affect the nervous system, and could have destroyed his hearing.” The article also mentions lead poisoning as a probable cause of his diarrhea, terrible abdominal cramps, and flatulence.

I have written about lead encapsulating paint as well as testing for lead in paint.

Be careful if you decide to work with lead paint yourself. As a 30+ year professional painter, I would not go anywhere near it. Literally.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts.

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