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December 24, 1932


Author Affiliations

Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, 111.

JAMA. 1932;99(26):2202-2203. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740780054029

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To the Editor:  —A number of women connected with Northwestern University had dinner at a fashionable golf club recently. After returning to their separate homes they were taken violently ill. The physicians attending the separate cases stated that the symptoms of the malady suggested arsenical poisoning. The patients subsequently recovered.I was asked to test the asparagus used at the dinner for arsenic. Suspecting botulinus or some similar malady, I reluctantly undertook to make the tests required.The two bunches of asparagus sent to me were examined with a lens and I could not find a white deposit that might be an arsenic salt. However, after running tests I discovered that sample A contained a small amount of arsenic and sample B quite considerable arsenic, very much more than would be tolerated by the pure food laws.I then tested my chemicals thoroughly and found them giving a negative test

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