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August 4, 1951


Author Affiliations

Coatesville, Pa.

From the Veterans Administration Hospital.

JAMA. 1951;146(14):1323. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.63670140011011h

Ethylene dichloride, a chlorinated hydrocarbon (CH2 C1-CH2C1 ) with an aromatic chloroformlike odor, is an oily, colorless fluid slightly soluble in water. It is used in large amounts industrially as a degreasing reagent, a cholesterol extractor, a fumigator, and a solvent for oils, waxes, and rubber. It has been known to be highly toxic since its use as an anesthetic more than 100 yr. ago. Heppel and others1 recently have described the pathological findings in laboratory animals subjected to poisoning by the chemical. Despite its widespread use industrially it has not produced a fatality in any of the reported cases of poisoning by inhalation. On the other hand, ingestion is generally followed by death. Ten such cases have been found in the world literature.2 However, only one of these cases is reported in the American literature. The substance was mistaken for liquor by the majority of