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February 1, 1965


JAMA. 1965;191(5):406. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050052015

Social critics might refer to contemporary American society as living in a plastic world characterized by cheap, synthetic values, disposable ideals, and principles which bend without breaking. Others might use the same term in reference to the 4,000,178 tons of plastics produced in the United States in 1963. Plastics have indeed become part of the American way of life. They have revolutionized manufacturing and packaging, and are as ubiquitous as the staphylococcus.

The Food and Drug Administration obviously has been concerned and vigilant with regard to hazards to consumers from various types of plastic materials which are in commercial use. To date, the only problems evident have been occasional cases of dermatitis which result from contact with improperly cured formaldehyde or epoxy resins.

In this issue of The Journal (p 375) Lewis and Kerby report an outbreak of polymer-fume fever in a group of men handling fluorocarbon plastics. Polymer-fume fever,