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Toxicology Rounds: Test Your Tox Smarts with the Annual EMN Pop Quiz

Gussow, Leon MD

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000476272.56614.61
Toxicology Rounds

Dr. Gussowis a voluntary attending physician at the John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Rush Medical College, a consultant to the Illinois Poison Center, and a lecturer in emergency medicine at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. Read his blog, follow him @poisonreview, and read his past columns at





It's time again for the annual EMN toxicology quiz. The number of correct responses will serve as a not-yet-scientifically-validated measure of your interest in all things poison and your mental health.

0-5 correct: You have a healthy disinterest in toxicology and current events.

6-10 correct: Your interest in these matters is just weird enough that you would make a good tox fellow.

11-13 correct: Professional help is available.

  1. Deliberate dissemination of chlorine gas at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosemont, IL, sent 19 people to the hospital and disrupted a convention of:
    1. Bikram yoga devotees.
    2. Forensic toxicologists.
    3. “Furries,” fans who dress up as and celebrate anthropomorphic animals.
    4. “Slurpees,” merchants who supply ingredients for frozen drinks to 7-Eleven outlets.
  2. Oxford Dictionaries announced that their Word of the Year was:
    1. Dab
    2. Molly
    3. Spice
    4. Vape
  3. Forbes magazine hired which aptly named reporter to cover the legal marijuana industry:
    1. Marianne Doubé
    2. Julie Weed
    3. Cynthia Hash
    4. Mary Jane Montgomery
  4. Tests of the air and water following massive explosions at warehouses in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin showed that levels of which chemical were hundreds of times higher than considered safe.
    1. Chlorine
    2. Dioxin
    3. Hydrofluoric acid
    4. Sodium cyanide
  5. Montgomery Elementary School in Central Pennsylvania was forced to close because of an infestation of:
    1. Africanized killer bees
    2. Brown recluse spiders
    3. Fire ants
    4. Zombies
  6. Veterinary pathologists determined this year that Knut, a 4-year-old polar bear in a Berlin zoo, seized, fell into the pool in his enclosure, and drowned in front of hundreds of zoo visitors in 2011 because of:
    1. Datura stramonium (Jimson weed) ingestion
    2. Eucalyptus toxicity
    3. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis
    4. Alcohol withdrawal
  7. Police in Muncie, IN, found inside the men's restroom at a local Walmart:
    1. An active meth lab
    2. A quart-sized plastic bag containing a previously unknown synthetic cannabinoid
    3. A flower pot growing magic mushrooms (Psilocybe semilanceata)
    4. Powdered ricin that had been placed inside the soap dispenser
  8. Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichny collapsed and died while jogging on an estate near London in 2012, and initial toxicology tests were This year a lawyer for his insurance company revealed that what rare poison had been found in his body:
    1. Aconite
    2. Gelsemium
    3. Thallium
    4. Thujone
  9. More than 40 people who ate the special Three Kings Day holiday bread produced by a Santa Ana, CA, bakery developed symptoms including palpitations, dizziness, numbness, and Forensic investigation determined that the bread contained substantial amounts of:
    1. Ergot (Claviceps purpurea)
    2. JWH-122 (a synthetic cannabinoid)
    3. Lysergic acid diethylamide
    4. Psilocybin
  10. A San Diego man depleted the antivenin supplies at two California hospitals and received a bill for $153,000 after sustaining a rattlesnake bite when he tried to:
    1. Compete in the little known but dangerous sport of snake-legging
    2. Handle a snake during a religious ceremony
    3. Kiss his pet rattler
    4. Take a selfie with a snake he found in a field
  11. A study in Nature Chemical Biology claimed that scientists had discovered how to make opiates out of:
    1. Dextromethorphan
    2. Poppy seeds
    3. Sugar and yeast
    4. Keith Richards' used bandanas
  12. Jagger, a 3-year-old Irish setter, died shortly after competing in the Crufts Champion Dog Show in Birmingham, Forensic tests determined that she had been poisoned by beef cubes laced with:
    1. Carbamates (aldicard and carbofuran)
    2. Sodium azide
    3. Sodium cyanide
    4. Toxic alcohols (methanol and ethylene glycol)
  13. Lacey Spears, a Kentucky mother known for blogging about her 5-year-old son's persistent health problems, was convicted of killing the child by administering large doses of what through his gastric tube:
    1. Acetaminophen
    2. Salicylates
    3. Sodium chloride
    4. Sodium cyanide
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Answers to the Tox Quiz

1. C. 2. D. 3. B. 4. D. 5. B.6. C. 7. A. 8. B. 9. B. 10. D. 11. C. 12. A. 13. C.

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