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Illegally imported foreign products can result in domestic exposures
to unusual toxic chemicals, and health-care providers might not be able to
provide appropriate therapy because the chemical ingredients might not be
listed or recognized even after translation of the product label. This report
describes the first known case in the United States of exposure to a Chinese
rodenticide containing the toxin tetramethylenedisulfotetramine (TETS), a
convulsant poison. The report of this investigation highlights the need to
prevent such poisonings through increased public education, awareness, and
enforcement of laws banning the importation of illegal toxic chemicals.
On May 15, 2002, a previously healthy female infant aged 15 months living
with her family in New York City was found by her parents to be playing with
a white rodenticide powder that they had brought from China and applied in
the corner of their kitchen. After 15 minutes, the child had generalized seizures
and was taken to an emergency department. Her initial blood glucose level
was 108 mg/dL (normal range: 80-120 mg/dL). Despite aggressive therapy with
lorazepam, phenobarbital, and pyridoxine, she had intermittent generalized
seizure activity for 4 hours and required intubation.
Poisoning by an Illegally Imported Chinese Rodenticide Containing Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine—New York City, 2002. JAMA. 2003;289(20):2640–2642. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2640
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