ingredient in antifreeze. Ethylene glycol poisoning causes the kidneys to fail so that toxins and fluid are not excreted from the body. Eventually, the amount of toxin build-up is so great that it over-whelms the body and causes death. Elixir Sulfanilamide killed 107 people, mostly children, before it was pulled from store shelves.
The Lash Lure and Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedies led to the passage of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. This act provided government oversight of consumer product safety and enforceable food standards and mandated that a drug company must prove to the FDA that a drug is safe before it can be sold to the public.
As the Elixir Sulfanilamide incident shows, it is important to test the safety of all drugs before they are sold to the public. Unfortunately, children around the world continue to be poisoned with ethylene-glycol-containing medicines in countries where drug testing is not as controlled as in the United States. Most recently:
Recent deaths among children due to ethylene-glycol-containing medicines:
47 died in Nigeria—1990
200 died in Bangladesh—1992
88 died in Haiti—1996
33 died in India—1998