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Article
December 11, 1943

THE TALCUM POWDER PROBLEM IN SURGERY AND ITS SOLUTION

Author Affiliations

Director of Pathology, Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital; Professor of Clinical Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine; Fellow in Surgery, Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital; ST. LOUIS

From the Departments of Pathology and Surgery of the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital.; Dr. Kidd was formerly resident in surgery at the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital.

JAMA. 1943;123(15):950-954. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840500014005
Abstract

Our purpose in this report is to reemphasize the very serious surgical hazard incident to the use of talc as a dusting powder for rubber gloves and to recommend potassium bitartrate as a substitute powder.

Even a cursory knowledge of the rapidly increasing surgical literature dealing with talc convinces one that this powder creates serious postoperative hazards. After the technic of dry gloves was adopted, practically a quarter of century elapsed before surgeons recognized the evil agency of talc, and even now many are unaware of its harmful potentialities. Equally noteworthy is the fact that, in the various reports devoted to this subject, efforts center almost exclusively on detailed descriptions of the surgical complications due to talc, with practically no stress laid on the possibility of substituting for it some satisfactory, innocuous powder. As a result, at the very moment that this is being written, talcum powder is in almost

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