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April 22, 1939


JAMA. 1939;112(16):1594-1595. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800160058015

Evidence of the superior efficacy of hydrogen cyanide as a fumigant for ships and houses has been rapidly accumulating. As this method becomes applied more extensively, the problems of toxicity and ventilation following use have received special study. After the employment of hydrocyanic acid gas as a fumigant for ships in the tropics, with the technic which has been developed, Gilles1 states that the average time for clearance of the gas after fumigation has never exceeded six hours. At the expiration of four hours' continued ventilation, the holds and spaces are carefully tested with methyl orange or copper benzidine acetate test paper. When the fumigated space is found clear of dangerous quantities of gas, the crew is allowed on board and, under supervision, all pillows, blankets, mattresses and the like are brought out, hung and aired in the sun. Gilles does not report any toxic effects to the crew