Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/682

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
666
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and disorders of the stomach. In the gravest cases, the inhaling of the vapors causes a more or less complete destruction of the bones of the jaws, in which they produce necrosis, especially in persons with decayed teeth. Such disorders have, however, become more rare. Besides finding a way to neutralize phosphoric vapors by essence of turpentine placed in a bottle, to be hung from the workman's neck, the vapors themselves have been suppressed by the adoption of processes in which all the dangerous parts of the operations are performed by machinery.

The General Match Company of France, which enjoys the monopoly of the manufacture in that country, has gradually introduced machinery, within the last ten years, by which the mixture of the phosphorus paste, the dipping of the matches, and the packing, are all done without exposing any one to the inhalation of the vapors.

Sulphide of carbon, which possesses the property of softening and inflating India-rubber, is much used in the manufacture of India rubber foot-balls and balloons of various kinds. It occasions pains in the head and limbs; loss of appetite; paralysis of the sight, the hearing, and the limbs; cachexy, and death. It should not be handled except in closed vessels. M. Deschamps, of Belleville, invented a glass box, having two openings, for the passage of the hands and arms, to which were attached India-rubber sleeves, to be fastened at the wrist, and enable the hand to work within the apparatus without giving any outlet for the vapors; but the workmen laughed at the apparatus, called it a magic-lantern, and would not use it. There remains, then, no other resource than an active ventilation to carry off the poisonous vapors; and for that reason work in sulphide of carbon should be carried on only in large establishments, well ventilated, and should be excluded from small rooms.

Passing by the manufacture of chemicals, which is a special industry, involving many peculiar causes of insalubrity, and which deserves a full treatment by itself, we come to dusts that are simply irritating. They may be divided into two groups: those which are not soluble in the liquids of the body, and consequently accumulate in the lungs, and obstruct them; and those which, being soluble, have only a transient effect, and do not produce irremediable disorders. The first group includes the coal and the siliceous dusts; the second group all the others.

The accumulation of coal-dusts in the pulmonary vesicles produces, in coal-miners, workers in charcoal, and copper-founders, a malady designated by the name of anthracosis, which frequently ends in death. The lungs of victims of this disorder resemble a piece of sliced coal. In the personal hygiene against these elements, we mention the use of wadded masks, which has been followed by excellent effects in the mines of Belgium, where it has been possible to get them adopted. In general hygiene, Dr. Manouvriez (of Valenciennes),