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Article
April 17, 1943

DANGERS OF TALCUM IN THE PERITONEAL CAVITY

Author Affiliations

St. Louis. Director of Pathology, Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital.

JAMA. 1943;121(16):1304. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840160054022

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  For the past decade or more, evidence has been accumulating of the occurrence of so-called intraperitoneal granulomas following the accidental implantation of talcum during laparotomy. The talc is shed from the surface of rubber gloves or from collections of the talc powder, which so frequently settles in the tip of the glove fingers and spills therefrom through accidental rips and tears.Talcum is predominantly a silicate of magnesium and sets up a vicious reactionary adhesive peritonitis, provocative of postoperative intestinal obstruction. I never realized fully the tragic significance of this complication until I encountered it in the postoperative course of my own son.No one has ever done more than to point out the dangers inherent in talc and to suggest careful depowdering of the surface of the gloves before operating. Consequently we set about to sidetrack the talc evil. After I had made numerous preliminary experiments,

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