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March 1950


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, New York University-Bellevue Medical Center, Service of Dr. Frank C. Combes, and the Department of Therapeutics, New York University College of Medicine.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1950;61(3):407-412. doi:10.1001/archderm.1950.01530100051006

HEXACHLOROCYCLOHEXANE was synthesized by Michael Faraday in 1825. This chemical compound was obtained in a condensate from the compression of oil gas. Van der Linden, after a century of accumulative work by other investigators, established the identity of four isomers and their melting points.

The insecticidal properties of hexachlorocyclohexane were studied by Thomas in 1942. He employed a sample of the crude product against the turnip flea beetle, but subsequent samples gave variable results. Pure alpha, beta and gamma isomers were then synthesized from the crude compound and used against weevils. The final analysis provided the conclusion that the alpha and beta portions were relatively nontoxic and that the gamma isomer was the active insecticidal agent. The gamma isomeric fraction is 10 to 12 per cent of the whole crude hexachlorocyclohexane and is referred to as gammexane.®1

This new insecticide compared favorably in its action with

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