Iodoform is primarily used to treat minor skin conditions due to its antiseptic properties. It is also used in various human and animal disinfectant products, and in polarizing films for liquid crystal display or LCD chemicals.
Iodoform, which is a yellow solid organic halogen compound, was first discovered in 1822. Also known as triiodomethane, iodoform is manufactured by electrolysis of an aqueous solution that contains sodium carbonate, acetone and inorganic iodides. The chemical's antiseptic properties were first discovered in 1880, which made it medically quite important. However, in more modern times, iodoform is not used as frequently due to the discovery of more effective chemical antiseptics.
Another reason that iodoform is no longer as commonly used in medical treatments is that it carries a slight risk of poisoning. Excessive amounts of iodoform that are absorbed into the skin or ingested can lead to systemic intoxication, which could cause symptoms such as vomiting, rapid pulse, hallucinations, delirium and fever. Iodoform poisoning has the potential to even lead to a coma or death. When ingested or absorbed into the skin, iodoform has also been known to cause vision impairment and possibly total blindness, although the vision usually slowly improves on its own over time.