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July 29, 1974

Trichloroethylene and Alcohol: A Straight Flush

Author Affiliations

Presbyterian Hospital San Francisco

JAMA. 1974;229(5):521-522. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230430015013

To the Editor. —  Trichloroethylene (CHCl= CCl2) is used industrially as a solvent for rubber and tar, degreasing metals, dry cleaning, extraction of oils and fats from vegetables, cleaning of photographic film, and gas purification. It has been used medically as an anesthetic (Trilene) and in angina pectoris, trigeminal neuralgia, and wound cleaning. Cardiac arrhythmias and hepatic and renal abnormalities have been wellrecognized manifestations of acute toxicity.1,2 Alcohol intolerance, the most common side effect of chronic exposure, has received little attention outside the industrial hygiene literature.3

Report of a Case.—  A 28-year-old male mechanical engineer had several months' history of alcohol intolerance characterized by rapid postimbibition development of facial flushing, a sensation of increased pressure in his head, lacrimation, tachypnea, and blurred vision. These manifestations were observed within 12 minutes after the patient drank 85 ml (3 oz) of bourbon whiskey. Further inquiry revealed repeated exposure to