Oil of wintergreen or methyl salicylate is one of the most poisonous and toxic substances, which fact many physicians fail to recognize. A review of the statistics at Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, substantiates the fact that methyl salicylate is extremely toxic, even more than either acetylsalicylic acid or sodium salicylate.
From January, 1950, through December, 1956, there were 72 persons with salicylism admitted to this hospital. Sixty-nine of the cases were due to aspirin or sodium salicylate; there was one death. The remaining three cases, with two deaths, were due to methyl salicylate. One case was that of a 3-year-old child who had ingested 2 to 3 tsp. of oil of wintergreen the day prior to admission. The parents brought the child to the hospital eight hours after the ingestion and seven hours after she had started vomiting. She died 65 minutes after her arrival at the hospital. The second
Adams JT, Bigler JA, Green OC. A CASE OF METHYL SALICYLATE INTOXICATION TREATED BY EXCHANGE TRANSFUSION. JAMA. 1957;165(12):1563–1565. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.72980300009009c
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