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DEATH FOLLOWING THE INHALATION OF ZINC STEARATE

KARL SCHLAEPFER, M.D.
Am J Dis Child. 1926;31(4):474-479. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1926.04130040017003.
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REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE  This report deals with an instance of asphyxia and death following the accidental inhalation of zinc stearate. That untoward consequences follow inhalation of this powder, so universally used in the care of infants, appears to have escaped notice until 1922, when Heiman and Aschner1 called attention to the fact. At that time Heiman reported his experience with twelve such instances. Rapid respiration and cyanosis were observed immediately after inhalation of the powder in eleven patients. Eight of these recovered within three days, while bronchopneumonia delayed recovery in the remaining. In the twelfth instance, a child, aged 8 months, asphyxia developed immediately and death occurred within twenty-four hours. Necropsy revealed small areas of pulmonary consolidation.Heiman's report stimulated interest in this new danger, and undoubtedly played a rôle in the creation of a special committee of the American Medical Association2 in 1923 for further investigation

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