Intrigued by “Detox”, an episode of the TV show House, in which teenage Keith has signs of hemolytic anemia from acute naphthalene toxicity, which he got from exposure to termites, I wondered how many people die from this kind of thing. Turns out one can be exposed to naphthalene from mothballs, tobacco smoke, working in coal-tar production, wood preserving, tanning, or ink and dye production and from termites. And exposure to naphthalene can cause anemia which can result in death. In the US, 4,000+ people die per year (4,345 in 2001 and 4,336 in 2004) from non nutritional anemia (ie anemia that is not caused by iron, Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency), although most of the deaths are likely from inherited disorders rather than acute exposure. Still - maybe it’s time to call the exterminator!
Cause of Death book (page 214)
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