Several new poisoning attempts were reported around the country yesterday, extending to four weeks a series of events that has included self-poisonings, mistaken reports and some isolated incidents of actual product tampering.
In Juno Beach, Fla., police said that an officer on the force took a drink from a carton of Tropicana orange juice and collapsed. He was taken to the hospital, where he later was reported in good condition. Police said the carton had been injected with some petroleum distillate, possibly kerosene.
A similar contamination of Tropicana fruit punch caused minor mouth burns in a woman in south-central Florida.
The two incidents were apparently unrelated, police said.
In Lorain, Ohio, a man suffered stomach pains and vomited after taking Excedrin capsules contaminated with a "caustic substance like toilet bowl cleaner," investigators said.
A spokesman for Revco Drug Store, where the capsules were bought, said the company "is considering it an isolated incident," but was removing all packages of the capsules as a precaution.
And in Atmore, Ala., Elaine Freeman, 69, of Century, Fla., was being treated for mouth and throat burns after eating a miniature Halloween candy bar tainted with an acid or bleach, officials reported.
A Food and Drug Administration aide said that, in the wake of seven deaths from cyanide-contaminated Tylenol capsules, the total number of reported poisoning incidents, many of them unverified or possible cases of self-poisoning, has reached more than 150.
The Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center reported yesterday that the woman reported to be the possible second victim of contamination of Excedrin capsules turned out not to have been poisoned. She had "a severe case" of the flu.
In another development yesterday, the Philadelphia police department closed the case of a University of Pennsylvania graduate student who died of cyanide poisoning in April. Police ruled the death a suicide.
And in a similar development in Chicago, authorities said the August death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found this week to contain cyanide also was ruled a suicide.
The task force in Chicago investigating the seven Tylenol murders yesterday located the woman who turned in the eighth bottle of cyanide-loaded Tylenol capsules. She was identified as Linda Morgan, wife of a DuPage County Circuit Court associate judge.
The FBI said it found a fingerprint on one of the capsules in that bottle and was trying to match it with records.
It was the third bottle to be found that had not caused any deaths. It was turned in to police in Wheaton, Ill., on Oct. 13, by a woman who police thought then had identified herself as the wife of DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Duane G. Walter. The woman indicated the bottle had been bought at Frank's Finer Foods in Winfield, the same store where one of the seven victims, Mary Reiner, purchased her bottle.
In the Washington area, a Dart Drug Corp. spokesman, Ronald M. Hirschel, said that because of the Excedrin poisoning incident in Colorado, Excedrin capsules would be removed from shelves of all Dart stores.