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February 1949


Author Affiliations


From the First and Third Medical Services (Tufts), Boston City Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;83(2):164-178. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00220310047005

THE RECENT observation of 2 fatal cases of acute phosphorus poisoning prompted an investigation of the incidence of phosphorus as a toxic agent and a review of the literature on the subject. Although at first glance its importance may seem slight, a further study of this condition brings to the foreground its serious nature and menace to the public health.

INCIDENCE  In the ten year period between 1934 and 1943, 14 patients with proved acute phosphorus poisoning were admitted to the Boston City Hospital, 7 of whom died, a mortality rate of 50 per cent. During this same period there were 1,443 admissions due to acute poisoning from other ingestants not including alcohol, with 90 deaths, a mortality rate of 6.2 per cent. Table 1 shows the incidence and mortality of the commonest toxic ingestants listed in order of their frequency. It will be noted that, although accounting for

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