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To the Editor:—
It seems odd that Cobb and Coggeshall in their extensive and instructive article on neuritis (The Journal, November 24, p. 1608) in listing the chemical causes of neuritis should have overlooked or omitted thallium. This element has been used for the removal of hair in the treatment of tinea capitis, and although its use by dermatologists has been markedly restricted because of the danger of neuritis resulting in blindness or paralysis, the "patent" drug promoters fearlessly entered the field, as exemplified by Koremlu, which bankrupted its backers through numerous lawsuits.Thallium is also used extensively as a rodenticide (Munch, J. C.; Ginsburg, H. M., and Nixon, C. E.: The 1932 Thallotoxicosis Outbreak in California, The Journal, April 29, 1933, p. 1315) and in nonfatal doses may also cause polyneuritis and optic atrophy.
Ellis FA. THALLIUM NEURITIS. JAMA. 1934;103(26):2045. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750520047022