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Severe Contact Dermatitis From Poinsettia

W. G. D'Arcy, PhD
Arch Dermatol. 1974;109(6):909-910. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630060077023.
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To the Editor.—  On Oct 17, 1973, a 66-year-old semiretired businessman, chairman of the board of an international chemical firm, appeared in my office asking for information on skin reactions to contact with the poinsettia plant (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Baring his arms and chest, he showed me caustic-like burns over large areas of his body. He refused medical attention, and symptoms persisted for more than six weeks.Contact occurred ten days earlier during the late morning of Oct 7 when he was cutting and bundling large (1 to 2 meters tall) plants in a greenhouse adjacent to his home. That day, the temperature reached a maximum of 82 F. He had stripped to the waist and worked for about 1½ hours. There had been no applications of insecticide or other chemicals in the greenhouse. Plants were both red and white forms. (Vouchers were later deposited at the Missouri Botanical Garden: D'Arcy


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