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October 18, 1976

Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity Potentiated by Isopropyl Alcohol: Investigation of an Industrial Outbreak

Author Affiliations

From the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Dr Folland); the Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Hospital, Nashville, Tenn (Drs Schaffner, Ginn, and Crofford); and the Epidemiology Section and the Division of Occupational and Radiological Health, Tennessee Department of Public Health, Nashville (Dr Folland and Mr McMurray).

JAMA. 1976;236(16):1853-1856. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270170019018

Fourteen workers in an isopropyl alcohol packaging plant became ill after accidental exposure to carbon tetrachloride. In four, renal failure or hepatitis developed. Isopropyl alcohol potentiation of carbon tetrachloride toxicity has been shown previously only in rats. Acetone, a product of isopropyl alcohol metabolism, is a major potentiator of carbon tetrachloride toxicity. Workers had elevated levels of acetone in samples of expired alveolar gas and thus were metabolically predisposed to carbon tetrachloride injury. Stricter limits for industrial carbon tetrachloride exposure should be established where concomitant isopropyl alcohol use occurs.

(JAMA 236:1853-1856, 1976)