The current wartime expansion in industry has unavoidably introduced some loss of supervision and control of health hazards by industrial health agencies, and the exposure of workers to noxious agents is becoming a major public health problem. Prominent among the chemicals concerned in industrial toxicology are trichloroethylene and carbon tetrachloride, which, because of their efficiency as lipoid solvents, enjoy wide use particularly as degreasers of tools and machinery. Browning1 listed twelve other major industrial uses for trichloroethylene and seven for carbon tetrachloride. Because of the high degree of volatility of these agents, the inhalation of their fumes is a common mode of intoxication.
Although trichloroethylene is much less toxic than carbon tetrachloride,2 Hamilton3 a decade ago reviewed the reports of 26 deaths among 284 cases of poisoning from trichloroethylene in German industry. A common factor in the fatalities discussed by both Hamilton3 and Browning1 was
GEIGER AJ. CARDIAC DYSRHYTHMIA AND SYNCOPE: FROM THERAPEUTIC INHALATION OF CHLORINATED HYDROCARBONS. JAMA. 1943;123(3):141–144. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840380017005
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