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Book Review Handbook of Industrial Toxicology. By E. R. Plunkett

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electrons and of electron transfer processes. Seven contributions deal with the structure, electrical and optical properties, and the kinetics of solvated electrons in solutions of
metals in amines or liquid ammonia. The remaining lectures
describe the formation of solvated electrons by radiationchemical and photochemical processes, their reactions and
physical properties in liquid and in frozen aqueous or
alcoholic systems.
It becomes clear from the lectures that we are far from
understanding the physics of solvated electrons, though many
of their properties are known; the name is a term of convenience to describe particles whose structure is yet unknown.
However, the chemistry of the particle has retained fewer
secrets; several hundred reactions have been studied, their
rates measured, and in many cases even the short-lived
intermediates have been identified.
The contributions are highly readable, and are often supplemented by graphs and tables. A glance through the literature
references reveals that next to no German contributions are
listed. Unhappily, this reflects the facts. The solutions of
metal in ammonia containing solvated electrons, as well as
the direct proof of the existence of solvated electrons produced by radiation-chemical means, were first described in
German periodicals, but have scarcely been mentioned in
them since.
The symposium report was available little more than three
months after the meeting. Both the editor and the publisher
deserve commendation on this account, but unfortunately
the speed of setting up the material in print has prevented
the discussions from being included in the publication.
U. SchindewoIf
[NB 690 IE]
Handbook of Industrial Toxicology. By E. R . Plunketf,
Chemical Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1st Edit.,
1966, viii, 448 pages, 16.50.
The author has attempted to bring to the attention of
“chemists, managers, doctors, medical students, nurses, and
poison control centers” the hazards to health posed by the
chemicals, drugs, and insecticides which he regards as the
most important. In addition to the usual alphabetical classification (Abrin to Zirconium) synonyms, appearance, possible
occupational exposure, threshold limit values, toxicity (absorption, pathology, symptoms of poisoning, diagnosis,
suggested treatment) and measures to prevent poisoning are
Unhappily, this laudable attempt has misfired completely.
Even the selection of the substances is startling: does the
occurrence of abrin in Buddhist rosaries justify its inclusion
in this book? The only drugs mentioned in the book are
resorcinol, salicylic acid, and tamarind.
It is untrue that yellow phosphorus is still used in matches,
let alone in fertilizers. Dichloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic
acid are listed as synonyms of acetic acid. Acetic acid is
stated to produce black skin and hyperkeratosis; no mention
of its hemolytic effect is made. According to the book
practically all substances have a “sensitizing” action and one
is practically as dangerous as another. For many substances
the threshold limit values are taken from a scarcely reliable
list compiled by ICI in 1952 (acetophenone = 20 ppm;
acetylene = 5000 ppm). The difference in toxicity between
acetone and acetone cyanhydrin can be no more than suspected from the value of 1000 ppm given as the threshold
limit for acetone, and the absence of a figure for the cyanhydrin. Not a word to tell us that the cyanhydrin acts practically like prussic acid; it is even claimed to produce a
“depression of the central nervous system” and a “cytotoxic
Under toxic substances such as ally1 alcohol no mention is
made of the typical liver-damaging action. By contrast, the
relatively harmless amyl acetate is accused of precisely this,
as well as of causing renal damage. Aniline is stated to
depress the cardiac action, the smooth musculature and the
central nervous system, and occasionally to produce intravascular hemolysis. Tetrafluoroethylene - “a colorless, flammable gas” - is equated with Teflon and its decomposition
products, and so on and so forth.
The three pages of bibliography list the well-known, excellent
English-language textbooks and reference works on toxicology. Had the author consulted these books, this inaccurate,
useless compilation would not have seen the light of day, and
it would not now be necessary to warn the reader against it.
The well-intentioned attempt by the author shows that it is
necessary to possess toxicological and chemical knowledge to
compile the essential information, even using good textbooks. In this task the present author has, regrettably, failed.
One can only marvel at his audacity in wanting to write such
a compendium, and one that is even described as a handbook, without being sure of the facts. H. uettel [NB 695 IE]
Registered names, trademarks, etc. used in this journal. even without specific indicarion thereof, are not t o be considered unprotected by law.
0Verlag Chemie,
GmbH, Weinheim/Bergstr. 1968. - Printed in Germany by Druckerei Winter, Heidelberg
All rights reserved. N o p a n o€ this journal may be reproduced in any farm whatsoever, e.g. by photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without
written perrhission from the publishers.
Editorial office: ZiegeLbSuser Landstrasse 35, 6900 Heidelberg 1. Germany, Telephone 24975. Telex 46 1855 kemia d, Cable address: Cbemieredaktion
Editor: W Grrjnewald Translation Editors: A . 1. Rncksrraw and A. Slimson.
Publishers: Verlag Chemie, GmbH (Presidents Jiirgen Kreuzhuge and Hans Schermer). Pappelallee 3. 6940 WeinheidBergstr.. Germany, and
Academic Press Inc. (President Walrer J . Johnson), I 1 1 Fifth Avenue, New York 3, N. Y.,USA, and Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square,
London, W. 1.. England.
Correspondence concerning advertisements should be addressed to Verlag Chemie, GmbH. (Advertising Manager W.Thiel), 6940 Weinbeim/Bergstr..
Pappelallee 3 Germany, Telephone Weinheim (06201) 3635. Telex 4655 16 vchwh.
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit.1 Vol. 7 (1968) 1 No. 7
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