August 22, 1966

Physician Notes Change In Poisoning Patterns

JAMA. 1966;197(8):27. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110080017005

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A study of fatal poisoning in the Miami, Fla, area over a decade shows a changing profile of cause, a forensic medicine specialist told the Fifth Inter-American Conference on Toxicology and Occupational Medicine.

Reviewing 1,004 accidental and intentional poisonings in the 2,000-square-mile Dade County area where he is chief medical examiner, Joseph H. Davis, MD, told his Miami audience of such changes as:

  • Increasing involvement of misused pesticides in child deaths;

  • A decrease in deaths, primarily suicides, from manufactured cooking gas since nontoxic natural gas has been supplied instead to that area, indicating "availability to the population plays a most significant role" in poisoning;

  • More involvement of the newer tranquilizers and sedatives; and

  • A peak in methanol intoxication fatalities in 1960-1961 which has not been repeated although "there appears to be no obvious decrease in the number of alcoholics who use this (Sterno) as a beverage."