Selenious acid intoxication

G. Pisati, A. Baruffini, C. Galli, L. Riboldi, M. Tomansini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Selenium, which is an essential trace element found in many animal species and in man, is highly irritating for the skin and mucous membranes. Cases of acute intoxication have been described in man with gastrointestinal disorders and irritation of the skin and upper airways. Necrotic hepatitis and cirrhosis have also been observed in animal experiments. The paper reports the case of a galvanization worker occupationally exposed to selenious acid, probably mainly via skin absorption, who in the space of two weeks developed a severe irritative dermatitis on the face and arms, accompanied by acute hepatitis with steatosis and necrosis. The skin lesions, duly treated, healed in a month, but it took over a year for the signs of cytolysis to disappear. The action of the systemic toxicity of selenium appears to be due to the fact that it interferes with essential enzymatic systems (glutathione, succinicodehydrogenase, urease, methioninadeosiltransferase), with consequent disturbance of microsomial system function and fatty acid synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalMedicina del Lavoro
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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