Modern clinical toxicology deals with a lot about environmental poisons and illness. I have experienced thousands of these problems from my patients. Here I like to inform you a few case studies to show that it can play a vital role in your health. Today, it is about Chloroform as an environmental poison.

A worried wife telephoned me and told that her husband had become an alcoholic. He drank the whole weekend although he never drank so much earlier. Moreover, Monday to Friday he was not at all drinking. I asked her where he was working and told that it would be better her husband talked to me personally. I talked to him over the phone and he came to my institute next day. We took blood sample from him for analysis. We analysed also the oil with which he was working from Monday to Friday. We detected an unknown solvent from his blood as well as from the oil.

When I talked to his Company Doctor he wanted me to drop the whole matter because even his wife was telling that he was an alcoholic. Moreover, the doctor told me,” you say some volatile substances, but as long as you could not say the correct substance, my company has no fault”.

I needed one small additional analytical instrument for that specific purpose and we bought it immediately. The unknown substance was confirmed as chloroform and the whole riddle was cleared. They heated the chloroform 60 degrees Celsius and now and then the worker had to open a small window to control. The worker breathed the vapours eight hours a day, Monday to Friday and these had influenced his central nervous system.

On Saturday morning he could not inhale the vapour but his body needed it. He took the alternative, alcohol to sedate his nerves. The multinational company had problems with the Health Department. These analyses brought me few hundred Euros but the instrument that was bought costed my institute more than 5000 Euros and it shows how difficult it is to deal with for a single person to fight against a multinational company. With the unlimited support from my boss I had the chance to prove this truth.

It was very much interesting to find this organic solvent even in the blood of administrative staffs who were away from the production area.

Chloroform is an anaesthetic agent. Inhalation of chloroform vapours depresses the central nervous system. It is also a carcinogen and higher incidence of birth defect may be possible. It is immediately dangerous to health and life even if 500 ppm is taken. If we breathe for a short time taking about 900 ppm dizziness, fatigue and headache are the symptoms. Liver damage may be caused by chronic chloroform exposure.