« السابقةمتابعة »
Mr. T. N. Jamieson gave me several thousand samples that had been sold to pay duty at the custom house. Twelve of these, picked out at random, showed arsenic in every case, ranging, however, quite low, from 2 to 6 mg. These samples were, presumably, of German manufacture. The uniformity of the amount of arsenic in these papers would seem to indicate that it had been used as an antiseptic in the paste with which the pigment was applied to the paper.
The two samples, 9 and 81, containing 200 mg. each, are probably of the same lot, as the colors are identical, though the figures are quite different.
No. 100 contains an average of about 600 mg. per square meter, the arsenic being almost entirely in the red, a square meter of which, therefore, contains over one gram of arsenious oxide.
No. 56 looks like the same paper, although it contains only about 50 mg. ; however, it is difficult to get a fair sample of a pattern containing figures so large and varied.
There is scarcely room for difference of opinion as to the injurious effects of large amounts of arsenic in wall-paper upon those who are exposed to its influence. There is little doubt that the air in rooms papered with arsenical wall-paper becomes contaminated with arseniuretted hydrogen, particularly in damp weather. This gas is extremely poisonous, and, though in very small quantities, sometimes gives rise to most alarming symptoms.
Even if this decomposition did not take place, the air of the room must be filled with arsenic dust, particularly after sweeping and dusting, and thus cause more or less irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat, similar to the symptoms of catarrh or a cold. Some of it is swallowed with the saliva, giving rise to intestinal and constitutional disturbances of a more or less serious character, as indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, general debility, nervous prostration, etc.
Numbers of cases of fatal poisoning in this manner are on record, as well as many others in which the cause was discovered in time, and on the removal of which the patients recovered. The extreme difficulty of tracing to their proper source symptoms of this character, must be plain to every one. How frequently we hear the diagnosis general debility," " nervous prostration," “indigestion," etc., the symptoms resisting all treatment until, perhaps, “rest and a change of air” are prescribed, when recovery follows, the symptoms returning, however, when the patient resumes his former work and environment. That many of these cases are due to arsenic in the wall-paper, there is abundant proof; that there are thousands suffering from this cause, of which they and their physicians are totally ignorant, is a conclusion well warranted by the evidence.
Prof. Edward S. Wood gives (Report Massachusetts Board of Health, 1883) a list of forty-two cases of arsenical poisoning, most of which were due to wall-paper. Prof. Wood mentions a great many other articles in which arsenic has been found; among them are the following: Dress goods, muslins, linen, artificial flowers, curtains, lambrequins, gloves, calico, cloth, bootlinings, paper collars, linen collars (one collar contained 10.4 grs. of As,O3), hat linings, colored stockings, linings in baby carriages, bed hangings, colored wax-candles, confectionery, etc., etc.
The presence of arsenic is so widespread that perhaps it would be impossible to exclude it entirely from such articles, but the deliberate use of it as a coloring for such purposes should not be tolerated. An attempt was made in Massachusetts a few years ago to secure the enactment of laws on the subject, placing the limit of arsenic in wall-paper at 7 mg. to each square meter ; but the wall-paper manufacturers were too influential with the legislators, and the bill failed to become a law.
There is no excuse for the presence of such quantities of arsenic in wall-papers, as all the colors produced by it can be made by other means, and in view of the helplessness of the average individual in the presence of such an insidious poison, its use as a pigment in all cases should be prohibited by stringent laws. — Chicago College of Pharmacy.
Mr. Maisch : I am very glad that such a paper has been presented here, because I consider the subject one of the utmost importance. It has been investigated by chemists and others interested in public health perhaps for the last thirty or forty years, if not longer. I remember the time very well, perhaps some thirty years ago, when it was denied that the presence of arsenic in the coloring matter of wall-papers could possibly have any injurious influence on the health of persons living in rooms where such paper was used, but careful experiments that were then made showed that arsenic is liberated, a volatile compound being formed, very likely arseniuretted hydrogen, which can be
found in the atmosphere of rooms the walls of which are covered with arsenical paper. The amount of such arseniuretted hydrogen liberated is, of course, extremely minute, and it takes a long time for the wall-paper to exert an injurious influence. The larger the quantity of arsenic contained in the coloring matter, of course the more rapidly will arseniuretted hydrogen be evolved and the more injurious will be the atmosphere. On the other hand it must be remembered that arsenic can be detected in extremely minute quantities, and that in many cases it is very difficult to free chemical compounds entirely from the last traces of arsenic. Hence the importance of limiting the quantity of arsenic to be contained in a certain flat space of wall-paper. Whatever influence our association can bring upon the enactment of such laws as are indicated here, I think would be influence very well bestowed, and would in the course of time be appreciated by the public.
Mr. Whelpley: I do not know how much influence this association could have upon legislation prohibiting the use of arsenic in wall-paper, but there is one thing the members of this association can do in furtherance of the object, and that is to examine wall-paper and other substances that have been mentioned, for arsenic; not to wait for customers to bring them to be examined, but to be enterprising enough to obtain samples for examination, and to report to their physicians and customers the result. In that way they will not only elevate the profession in the eyes of the public, but will be opening to themselves a new source of revenue ; because if it once becomes known to the physician and the public that such dangers are among them, they will be willing to pay the druggists to determine whether these goods are dangerous or not. The medical journals of the present day report many cases of arsenic poisoning. I think that the druggist should not lose sight of this opportunity to benefit the public and at the same time promote the interests of his own profession. It is a singular fact that the manufacturers claim that there is no arsenic in wallpaper. I have seen circulars issued by wall-paper manufacturers to that effect. The manufacture of wall-paper is one grand trust, and the price of wall-paper is maintained in a manner that is only equalled by the Standard Oil Combination and others of a similar character. They don't hesitate to spend any amount of money issuing circulars and in publishing analyses to show that wall-paper does not contain arsenic; here is your opportunity to lay the difficulty bare before the public.
Mr. Ebert : In Europe, especially in Germany, this matter has been very much more carefully considered and thought of as being of importance than in this country. While studying in Munich we, as students, had the privilege of making such examinations in the laboratory of the chemist for the department of health in that city. Wall-paper, beer, and various articles of food and drink were constantly submitted, and this question of arsenic in wall-paper, in clothing, feathers, ornaments, and other things, was constantly investigated. Although the laws are very rigid, still quite frequently this contamination was
ound in samples purchased from stores in the city of Munich. They would be reported to the health department and the goods would be confiscated. I think if the association would take some steps in that respect it would not be necessary to alarm the public, but laws could be enacted and carried out under the supervision of local boards of health. I do hope that this matter may be deemed to be of sufficient importance to warrant such action, and that the gentleman be asked to continue his researches. Arsenic is contained in some of our foods; for instance, jellies are made out of glucose and are largely colored with analine colors. You will find by testing these jellies that arsenic is present, whether in large quantities or not I don't know, but I know they are contaminated by analine colors which contain arsenic.
Mr. Manning : It needs something besides the state board of health to arouse the public to the danger. In our State, Massachusetts, the state board of health, as alluded to in this paper, has made a very full and complete report. The matter was carried to our legislature, and action was invariably unsupported from the fact that the community are not alive to the danger; they have no thought that there is any danger in this matter. In one city in our State the wife of a very prominent citizen died from arsenic poisoning developed in the manner indicated, which was conclusively proved and believed by the community. In that connection I want to allude to what Professor Whelpley has remarked, and that is the source of revenue that may be derived by the druggist. An analysis was made, and in less than thirty days the analyzer had a large number of analyses to make. But I don't believe the public generally will be moved in this matter unless some such thing as that develops that sentiment
Mr. Hallberg: I think the American Health Association would take hold of this subject, and I will move that the attention of the American Public Health Association be directed to this matter by sending to its secretary a copy of the paper and discussion, and asking them to take such steps as might secure the proper legislation.
Mr. Hallberg's motion was seconded and adopted.