The powder in the basement: how an unlabeled poison inspired federal legislative change

Keahi M. Horowitz, Robert G. Hendrickson, Adam Blumenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Oregon State Hospital, first established in 1862 as the Oregon Insane Asylum, was a state funded mental health institution that provided care and housing for a large and diverse patient population. In December 1941, the United States formally entered World War II. As wartime production and demands increased over the course of 1941 and into 1942, resources became more limited and budgets tightened. On the evening of November 18, 1942 hundreds of patient suddenly fell ill and dozens died. Initially it was unclear if this was an accident, a mass murder, or an act of sabotage related to the war effort. The investigation revealed that the casualties fell victim to a mass poisoning. Over the next months to years, there would be new State and Federal laws intended to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Toxicology
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • FIFRA
  • History
  • Oregon State Hospital
  • fluoride
  • pesticide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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