Skeletal Changes in Chronic Fluorine Intoxication

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Although the bone changes of chronic fluorine intoxication in man have been well described abroad,1 the American literature contains only a single case report2 concerning the occurrence of these changes in workers in this country who have been exposed to fluorine compounds over long periods of time. It therefore seemed desirable to record a recent case in which a man who had handled various fluorides regularly throughout a period of thirty years' employment in a chemical plant presented the characteristic roentgenologic features of extensive deposition of fluoride in the skeleton.

Report of a Case

A white man, aged 58 years, had felt well until three months before his first visit to the Clinic when he noted the onset of fatigue and dyspnea on exertion. The symptoms had gradually become more troublesome, and during the three weeks preceding his admission there had been occasional moderately severe frontal headaches. There were no other complaints. Since 1916 the patient had been steadily employed in a chemical plant where his work involved the constant handling of fluorine salts, chiefly sodium fluoride. According to his statement there was considerable chemical dust in the air of the room in which he worked, and although he was supplied with a protective mask he often dispensed with its use for the sake of comfort.

Physical examination revealed a well developed, well nourished man in no respiratory discomfort. The temperature was normal, the pulse rate 52 per minute, and the blood pressure 110/70. There was no cyanosis, and the. . .



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