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July 26, 1965

Pulmonary Disease and Hair-Spray Polymers: Effects of Long-Term Exposure of Dogs

Author Affiliations

From the Medical Department, the Toni Company (Dr. Giovacchini), Division of Medicine, Michael Reese Hospital and Chicago Medical School (Dr. Becker), Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago (Dr. Dunlap), and California College of Medicine, Los Angeles (Dr. Brunner).

JAMA. 1965;193(4):298-299. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090040042011

Since 1958, when a possible relationship between lung disease and hair-spray inhalation was suggested,1 a large and controversial body of literature has been devoted to this subject.2-5 In a previous article in The Journal,6 considerable doubt was expressed as to the existence of hair-spray "thesaurosis" as a clinical entity. The authors were unable to experimentally reproduce characterizable thesaurosis lesions using stringent exposure conditions in animals. The periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining of tissue, purported to demonstrate hair-spray polymers specifically, was shown to be completely useless as a diagnostic tool. More important, a large number of well-established clinical conditions were shown to exhibit histological changes indistinguishable from those asserted to exist in thesaurosis; these included sarcoidosis, zirconium and beryllium toxicity, and infections with Histoplasma capsulatum, Treponema pallidum, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and M leprae. Schepers7 also has clearly demonstrated the presence of intracytoplasmic PAS-positive granules identical to those supposedly present