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September 8, 1962

Acute Renal Failure Associated with Carbon Tetrachloride Intoxication

Author Affiliations

New York City

JAMA. 1962;181(10):903-906. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050360089019c

DESPITE the widespread use of carbon tetrachloride as a cleaning solvent, acute renal failure secondary to intoxication with this agent is infrequent. Presumably, time of exposure, adequacy of ventilation, and frequency of use have some bearing on the development of poisoning. These contributing factors are relatively well recognized by all, but others of importance apparently are not, for there continues to be a low but significant incidence of this illness. Since 1955 we have encountered 19 cases of acute renal failure related to carbon tetrachloride exposure.

Review of our data has revealed several interesting points. Some important clues to early diagnosis have become apparent, and public health aspects relative to exposure deserve re-emphasis.


The data from the 19 patients are summarized in Tables 1 and 2.

Exposure—Inhalation was the predominant route of exposure. Only 2 patients drank carbon tetrachloride, one in an attempt to commit suicide. In the other