To the Editor. —
In the "Comment" section of their recent article on zirconium compound—induced pulmonary fibrosis, Bartter and others1 made several statements in which a clarification is warranted. The authors say, "In 1977, the Food and Drug Administration declared zirconium unsafe as a component of drugs and cosmetic products" and they cite as a reference the Federal Register.2 This statement was given in partial response to an earlier question of whether it was safe to use zirconium in topical medications. The authors failed to point out that zirconium was only banned in aerosol preparations2 and it is still often contained in topical antiperspirants in the form of aluminum zirconium chlorohydrate. Zirconium appears to be a safer substance when it is combined with an aluminum salt.3,4 Although skin changes did appear in rabbits injected with zirconium aluminum glycine complex, in 1978 the Food and Drug Administration
Lisi DM. Availability of Zirconium in Topical Antiperspirants. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(2):421–422. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400140153039
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