Following the exposure of human beings to various products containing thallium, prepared for rodenticidal or clinical use, a number of untoward effects have been reported during the last few years. In addition to alopecia, the principal effects reported have been stomatitis and gastro-enteritis, diarrhea and constipation, peripheral neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis and endocrinologic disturbances.1 In 1924, an intensive study of the pharmacology of thallium was instituted by the Bureau of Biological Survey on animals which led to the development of an antidote for thallium poisoning and to definite information regarding its physiologic actions.
"Thalgrain" was prepared by official agencies to contain 1 per cent of thallium sulphate and distributed in certain areas in ten counties in California for assistance in controlling ground squirrel infestation.2 Following its use on a small scale in 1925, the amount of such material has been increased annually until 1928, since which time progressively smaller
MUNCH JC, OLDEN G, GINSBURG HM, NIXON CE. THE 1932 THALLOTOXICOSIS OUTBREAK IN CALIFORNIA. JAMA. 1933;100(17):1315-1319. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740170013003