In 1933 Robinson1 demonstrated selenium in a sample of wheat which had been grown in southern South Dakota and which had previously been shown by Franke and his co-workers2 to be toxic when fed to small animals. These contributions solved the problem of the etiology of the pathologic condition in farm animals known in some of the Great Plains states as "alkali disease"3 and simultaneously opened up the larger and more difficult problem of selenium as a possible health hazard to man. The early investigations of Byers4 indicating the natural occurrence of selenium in certain soils of some of the western states and its wide distribution in plants available to man as well as to the lower animals brought the problem to the attention of public health investigators. More recently selenium compounds have also come into use in insecticide sprays on the West Coast, and this
SMITH MI. CHRONIC ENDEMIC SELENIUM POISONING: A REVIEW OF THE MORE RECENT FIELD AND LABORATORY STUDIES. JAMA. 1941;116(7):562–567. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820070012003
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