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May 1967

Fatal Toxaphene Poisoning in a 9-Month-Old Infant

Author Affiliations

Columbia, SC; Atlanta
From Columbia Hospital, Columbia, SC (Dr. Haun), and the Toxicology Laboratory, Office of Pesticides, Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta (Dr. Cueto). Dr. Cueto is now at the Pesticides Research Laboratory, Perrine, Fla.

Am J Dis Child. 1967;113(5):616-618. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1967.02090200148022

TOXAPHENE, an insecticide composed of a mixture of chlorinated terpenes with chlorinated camphene as the main component, has been marketed for over 15 years in various formulations, alone or in combination with other pesticides. At least seven human deaths have been reported as due to toxaphene (Dr. Wayland J. Hayes, Jr., oral communication, 1966).1,2 All patients were children; at least five and perhaps all ingested the poison. The fatal dose of this pesticide in man is unknown; from nonfatal cases1 it has been estimated3 that a dosage of 10 mg/kg or even less leads to convulsions. Although toxicological and pharmacological studies on toxaphene were reported as early as 1949 by Lackey4 and reviewed in 1955 by von Oettingen,5 apparently there has been no previous report of toxaphene in tissue from human beings whether they were from a heavily-exposed group or members of the general population.

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