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May 1975

Neurotoxicity of Hexachlorophene in HumansII. A Clinicopathological Study of 46 Premature Infants

Arch Neurol. 1975;32(5):320-325. doi:10.1001/archneur.1975.00490470064009

To assess neurotoxic effects of hexachlorophene in the human population previously shown to be most at risk, a blind clinicopathological analysis was made of all premature infants under 1,400 gm birth weight who survived at least four days and were examined by autopsy over a 7.5-year period. Repeated whole-body bathing of premature newborn infants in 3% hexachlorophene-bearing soap (undiluted pHisoHex) shows a significant statistical association with a vacuolar encephalopathy of the brain stem reticular formation. The prevalence of the vacuolar encephalopathy in premature infants on whom we have adequate brain stem histological information appears to be related to the number of exposures to hexachlorophene, the concentration of hexachlorophene, the thoroughness of rinsing, and other factors (including exposure to ultraviolet light).