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Article
May 6, 1933

DISCOVERY OF TOXIC INGREDIENT IN JAMAICA GINGER

Author Affiliations

Chemist, Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1933;100(18):1450. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740180072026

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Abstract

To the Editor:  —I have read with interest your editorial on "Ginger Poison" (The Journal, March 25) and wish to call your attention to the second paragraph, in which it is stated that "credit is due to the United States Public Health Service for having discovered the real cause of a most baffling series of symptoms of "jake paralysis."The actual discovery of this ingredient—triorthocresyl phosphate, was made by the chemists of the Bureau of Industrial Alcohol and was turned over to the Public Health Service for physiologic tests to determine whether the substance that was found in the adulterated ginger was the ingredient that actually produced paralysis in more than 30,000 cases throughout the United States. It was this laboratory which first determined and isolated the triorthocresyl phosphate as such and determined it quantitatively in numerous samples, and some of this isolated substance was turned over to the Public

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