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Pentaborane Intoxication

Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(3):364-374. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860090098010.
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Introduction  The search of government and industry for propellant fuels with high energy content has resulted in the investigation of pentaborane. This report describes the medical aspects of pentaborane intoxication.Boron hydrides have the general formula of BnHn+4. They are extremely active reducing substances, with nearly double the energy content of standard hydrocarbon fuels. Examples include diborane (B2H6), a gas; pentaborane (B5H9), a liquid; and decaborane (B10H14), a solid, under stand- ard conditions. The boranes are generally soluble in organic solvents, and may hydrolyze in water. They oxidize vigorously to produce boric oxide (B2O3), water, and much heat. Some of the hydrides are spontaneously pyrophoric.1Extensive animal experiments, as well as limited observation upon humans, indicate that boron hydrides possess an unusual degree of toxicity.2-4,8,12,16Intoxication may occur from inhalation, ingestion, or absorption


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