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April 6, 1935

Current Comment

JAMA. 1935;104(14):1245. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760140049019

ORGANIC LIQUIDS IN HUMAN TISSUES  The identification of organic liquids in human tissues has assumed considerable medicolegal significance. A number of organic fluids of low boiling point are used in dry cleaning, as general solvents, as fire extinguishers, as anesthetics and as therapeutic agents in hookworm disease. Ethyl chloride, ethylene chloride, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, carbon bisulphide, benzene and diethyl ether are among these substances; each is capable of producing fatal results after drinking or following inhalation of their vapors. The problem confronting the toxicologist or pathologist in cases of death due to poisoning with any of these volatile liquids is to isolate them from the organs and to establish their identity. The usual proof obtained from relying on the sense of smell is unsatisfactory and often misleading. The demand for a method for the isolation from human tissues of easily volatile organic liquids and their identification has been met by