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May 1957

Chloracne in the Manufacture of DDT

Author Affiliations

Houston, Texas

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;75(5):743-746. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550170111021

Schwartz, Tulipan, and Peck in the latest edition of "Occupational Diseases of the Skin" (1947, Second Edition, Revised)1 state that "DDT (2, 2 bis (p-chlorophenyl) 1, 1, 1, Trichlorethane) has as yet not been reported to have caused dermatitis either in its manufacture or from its use as an insecticide." Patch tests with DDT suggested it may act as a weak primary irritant and sensitizer. "A plant making DDT was inspected, but no cases of dermatitis were seen among the exposed workers."

Chloracne, as classically encountered in industry, occurs chiefly among workers with heavy machinery in which cutting oils incorporated with sulfur and chlorine are used. In such an instance chlorinated hydrocarbons are formed in the oil mist settling on the exposed parts of the skin and saturating the clothing. These highly chlorinated oils give off as much as 25% of their chlorine content into the air