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High Level of Arsenic Found in Ex-Hostage Reed

From United Press International

Tests performed on former hostage Frank H. Reed revealed an “inordinate” amount of arsenic in his body, leaving him afraid for the safety of other Westerners still held in Lebanon, his lawyer said Saturday.

Physicians at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where Reed has been undergoing treatment since his release April 30, did not say how or when Reed may have ingested the poisonous substance.

The arsenic, detected when Reed was released after spending 44 months as a hostage in Lebanon, has since been reduced to a nontoxic level, officials said.

Boston attorney Bob Woolf said Reed had known about the arsenic for “some weeks.” He had not spoken publicly about it because, while “we were in the process of hoping it would be eliminated from his system, we weren’t sure,” Woolf said.

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“It was an inordinate amount, which could have been very serious to his health,” Woolf said in a telephone interview.

Woolf said Reed was relieved that his health was no longer in jeopardy, but he remains concerned for the other hostages, including six Americans, still held by various groups in Lebanon.

Reed underwent tests for the arsenic as part of a standard procedure for former prisoners, officials at Andrews Air Force Base said.

Citing the safety of the remaining hostages, Woolf declined to discuss how it was believed Reed received the arsenic. The element has medicinal purposes when combined with bromides, but is a potent poison in excessive doses.

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Aside from a brief visit last month to family members in his native Malden, Mass., the 57-year-old educator has been recuperating at the Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews since his return to the United States.


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