Calhoun County authorities are looking for the source of a rare poison that has hospitalized an Emmett Township man.

Area law enforcement are being joined by the Calhoun County Health Department, CDC, Environmental Protection Agency and others in figuring out what led to the 41-year-old victim suffering acute thallium poisoning, with levels in his body 160 times the average person.

Thallium is a heavy metal that has been banned from commercial use since 1970; before that it was used as rat poison.  At high levels, it can cause severe pain, nausea, hair loss, and eventually death.

Thallium poisoning nowadays might be the result of exposure to old rat poison or methamphetamine production, and investigators are looking at the possibility the victim was exposed at work, or that he might have been poisoned intentionally by someone else.

The victim is being treated at Bronson Kalamazoo with thallium's antidote; Prussian Blue. His family is being tested to see if they were exposed as well.

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