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November 15, 1965

A Doubt About Toxic Effects of Creosote Fumes

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif

JAMA. 1965;194(7):833. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090200141040

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To the Editor:—  The assertion in The Journal (193:745, 1965) that creosote can produce severe neurological disturbances by inhalation of its "fumes" is not supported by the evidence presented. Creosote was not identified as the inhalant, the concentration in the air was not measured, and there was no demonstration that creosote was present in the patient's body. Since illness resembling that which was described has not previously been attributed to creosote intoxication, it is of some importance that the conclusion of the authors be challenged.Creosote is likely to cause a skin irritation as a result of contact, and mouth and throat burns and gastroenteritis as a result of ingestion. With ingestion of large quantities, dizziness, visual blurring, loss of pupillary reflexes, kidney and liver injury are likely to result, and if the amount is very large, convulsions and death may follow. Creosote has a strong odor which most

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