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Danger of Pesticides to the Liver

Mitchell R. Zavon, MD
JAMA. 1965;191(5):419. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050065025.
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To the Editor:—  A hearty amen to your editorial "Safe Use of Pesticides" in the Nov 2, 1964, issue (JAMA190:466), and a quibble about one statement therein. I doubt very much if careful consideration of the data will bear out the statement, "Because organophosphorus and chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides are particularly toxic to the liver...." This is a common misconception (particularly with regard to the chlorinated hydrocarbon group) based on experimental work with rats and an analogy to carbon tetrachloride. It has caused considerable wasted effort in diagnosis and treatment. The truth of the matter is that these two groups of poisons are not at all particularly toxic to the liver of Homo sapiens and must be viewed primarily as directed in their effect to the central and peripheral nervous systems in our species.


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