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June 1920


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1920;25(6):575-583. doi:10.1001/archinte.1920.00090350002001

In 19151 I described some experiments which indicated that chloroform is dissociated in the body in such a way that free hydrochloric acid is formed from it and that the toxic effects of chloroform are probably to a great extent due to the action of the liberated hydrochloric acid. The evidence on which this view was based was as follows: 1. The ease of the formation of three molecules of hydrochloric acid from one molecule of chloroform outside the body by oxidation in the presence of water suggests that also within the body in the presence of water and available oxygen the same reaction might take place. 2. Lesions in the liver similar to those which occur in chloroform poisoning can be produced experimentally with hydrochloric acid. 3. Free hydrogen and free chlorin ions were demonstrable in the necrotic areas of the liver. 4. Observations on other chlorin substitution products

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