Although formaldehyd has been extensively used in a number of industries since its discovery in 1867 by Von Hoffmann, there are on record, including the one at Mt. Sinai Hospital reported here, only twenty-seven cases of formaldehyd poisoning.
Of these twelve patients (seven males and five females) died in from twenty or thirty minutes to four weeks. In the case of the males, formaldehyd was taken by mistake for whisky or water. In the case of the females, it was taken with suicidal intent.
The amount of formaldehyd ingested in the fatal cases varied from a few drops to 3 ounces (89 c.c.) of concentrated solution. The largest amount from which a patient recovered (case of Hale) was 120 c.c. of concentrated commercial formaldehyd.
Below is a summary of the clinical and pathologic records of the fatal cases. The first four are quoted from MacLachlan,1 who reviewed the literature to
KLINE BS. FORMALDEHYD POISONING: WITH REPORT OF A FATAL CASE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1925;36(2):220–228. doi:10.1001/archinte.1925.00120140074005
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