Moritz Rohr.

Biennial report of the Louisiana State Board of Health. 1883/84 online

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(red iodide and green iodide), acetate of lead fsugarof lead), subacetate of
lead (Goulard's extract), carbonate of lead (white lead), oxides of lead
(yellow oxide, massicot, litharge, and minium or red lead), copper, sulphate
of copper (blue vitriol), subacetate of copper, (verdegris), antimony (tartar
emetic), sulphate of zinc (white vitriol), chloride of tin (Dyer's spirits),
nitrate of silver (lunar caustic, lapis infernalis), perchloride of gold, sul-
phate of iron (copperas, green vitriol), muriate of iron (tincture of per-
chloride of iron), subnitrate of bismuth, bichromate of potash, chromic
acid, cbromate of lead, thallium, iodine, aloes, colocynth, gamboge, jalap,
scamony, savin, croton oil, castor seeds, colchicum, hellebore, oil of turpen-
tine, oil of tar, mouldy bread, carib or locust beau, cantharides, poison-
ous fish, mussels, cheese, sausage, poisonous, pork, bacon, trichiniasis,
putrescent food.

II.— NEUROTIC (NARCOTIC OR CEREBRAL) POISONS.

Opium, poppies, Godfrey's cordial, Dalby's carminative, camphorated
tincture of opium (paregoric elixir), powder of ipecac and opium (Dover's
powders), black drop Battley's sedative solution, chlorodyue, nepenthe,
tincture of opium (laudanum J, morphia and its salts, hydrocyanic or
prussic acid, cyanide of potassium, essential oil of bitter almonds, narcotic
liquids and vapors, sulphide of carbon, coal naptha, wood naptha, amy-
leue, fusil oil, (amylic alcohol), benzole, nitrobenzole, aniline, oil of worm-
wood, nitroglycerine or gleonoine, alcohol, ether, chloroform, camphor,
tobacco, nicotina, cocculus indicus, picrotoxine, darnel seeds, calabar bean,
fungi, henbane, lactucarium, solanum.

III.— SPINAL, POISONS.

Strychnia, brucia.

IV. — CEREBRO SPINAL POI80NS.

Conium macnlatum (hemlock), conia, oenanthe crocata, sethnsa cynap-
ium, aconite (monksbane), acouitina,' atropia belladonna (deadly night-
shade), atropia, lobelia iutlata (Indian tobacco), digitalis purpura (fox
glove), datura stramonium (thorn apple), cristus laburnum (laburnum),
taxus baccata (yew), ligustrum vulgare (birch).

V. — GASEOUS POISONS.

Carbonic acid, charcoal vapor, carbonic oxide, coal and coke vapor, sul-
phurous acid, vapor of lime, cements and brick kilns, confined air, coal gas,
carburetted hydrogen and water gas, sulphuretted hydrogen, effluvia of
drains and sewers, mephitic vapors, exhalations from the dead.

VI.— LiGHTNING, COLD, HEAT, STARVATION, DROWNING.

Under the last head are included certain physical causes of death which
cannot be strictly classed with poisons.

It is evident from the preceding enumeration that, in a medico-legal
view, many substances must be regarded as poisons winch are daily em-
ployed as medicines and as valuable materials absolutely indispensable in
the arts and manufactures.

Thus arsenic, a violent poison, enters into the composition of many pig-
ments, and of many preparations used in destroying insects and pests of
all kinds, and for the preservation of stuffed birds and animals, and the

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CCCXL Preventable Causes of Dieeaee: JoeephJonee, M. D.

embalming of dead bodies. Cases of ill. health and actual poisoning have
occurred from the extensive use of arsenic in the preparation of certain
kinds of decorative wall paper. Paris green, extensively used for the des-
t ruction of caterpillars in the cotton fields, has destroyed life upon various
occasions, and pigments containing arsenic have actually been used in
coloring candies, and have destroyed the lives of children.



COPPER VESSELS AND COPPER IN ARTICLES OF FOOD.

At the meeting of the Board of Health, on Friday evening, November
27, 1881, the following paper was submitted by the President:

The extensive employment of copper vessels in cooking, as well as the
use of certain salts of this metal as pigments for coloring wall papers,
several articles of food — as pickles, fruits and candies — have been the oc-
casion of accidental poisoning in this And other cities, and the attention of
medical inspectors and of sanitarians should be directed to this source of
disease.

All the salts of copper are poisonous, only those more commonly known
in commerce as Scheele ? s green (arsenite of copper), blue vitrol (sulphate
of copper), and verdigris (subacetate of copper), will be considered.

The sulphate of copper (blue vitriol) has been frequently taken and ad-
ministered in large doses for the purpose of suicide and in attempts at
murder ; in the latter case the strong metallic taste possessed by this salt
would in general render it impossible that the poison should be taken un-
knowingly.

The arsenite of copper (Seheele's green > owes its poisonous properties
chiefly to arsenic.

With the exception of these salts, poisoning by copper is usually'an ac-
cidental result of the common employment of the metal for 'culinary pur-
poses.

The sulphate of copper, it doses of half an ounce and upwards, acts as a
powerful irritant on adults, and a much smaller quantity would] suffice to
destroy infants or children. It speedily causes vomiting of the most vio-
lent kind, and the vomited matters are remarkable for being generally of
a blue or green color. If the green, color of the vomited liquids is owing
to altered bile, it will not acquire a blue color when adding to a portion of
the green liquid a srtong solution of ammonia; but if it is caused by a
salt of copper, the change of color will indicate the fact. The symptoms
of poisoning by the sulphate of copper are headache, colicky pains in the
abdomen, with purging and vomiting 5 and in aggravated cases, spasms of
the extremities and convulsions have been noted.

The medicinal dose of sulphate of copper, as an emetic, is from five to
fifteen grains ; and as a tonic, from one or four grains.

The subacetateof copper (verdigris) produces symptoms somewhat simi-
lar to those caused by the sulphate, namely, a strong styptic, metalic
taste; also, a sense of constriction iu the throat, followed by some colicky
paius, vomiting of a green colored liquid, aud purging, with violent strain-
ing (tenesmus).

In consequence of the uncertainty of its operation, subacetate of copper
is not employed internally.

The arsenite of copper (Scheele's green) is met with in commerce and the
arts, and constitutes, wholly or iu part, a great variety of given pigments,
known as emerald green (acetoarsenite of copper), employed for paper
hangings, mineral green, Brunswick, Schweinfurt or Vienna green; in oil
paint, in cakes, iu boxes, of water colors, iu the greeu coloring mutter



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Preventable Came* of Disease : Joseph Jones, M. D. CCCXLI

spread over confectionery, in wafers, in adhesive envelopes, and in various
kinds of green decorative papers used for covering the walls of sitting and
bedrooms. Although the arsenite of copper is insoluble in water, it is
sufficiently soluble in the acid mucous fluids of tl e stomach to be taken
up by the absorbents and carried as a poison into the blood. The symp-
toms induced are similar to those caused by arsenic — violent irritation of
the stomach, vomiting, purging, and intense burning sensation and colic.

Toxicologists have recorded many cases of fatal poisoning in children
from eating confectionery colored by the green ursenite of copper. Many
of the colors used for confections are of a poisonous nature: the pink color
given by cochineal or madder is the onlj oue which can be regarded as
innocent.

Death has been caused by the employment of the arsenite of copper, to
give a rich green color to blance mange, and it has thus been iguorantly
employed for the coloring of materials served at public dinners, under the
impression that emerald or mineral green was nothing more than au ex-
tract of spinach.

The use of this poison to impart a bright green color to the shelves of
bakers and green grocers shops is dangerous and should be prohibited, as,
the bread and meats resting upon these shelves may be contaminated.

It is well known that wall papers covered with loosely adhering aceti-
arsenite of copper are, from their cheapness as well as their brightness of
color, extensively used in dwellings.

This pigment consists of fifty-nine per cent of arsenic, and from these
unglazed papers the poison may be easily scraped or removed by friction.
It has been computed that a square loot of this paper may yield from twen-
ty-eight to seventy grains of the arsenical compound, and in rooms exposing
five or six hundred square feet arsenic is thus liable to be dissolved in the
state of a fine dust or powder in the air of the room. It has been observed
by the physicians and toxicologists, in this and other countries, that work-
men who hang these papers or who strip them from the walls suffer from
symptoms referable only to the action of arsenic.

The symptoms as described by careful observers are of a uniform char-
acter, showing their origin from a common cause, namely : dryuess and ir-
irtation of the throat, with cough, irritation of the mucous membrane of
the eyes and nostrils, dry cough, languor, neadache, loss of appetite, nausea,
colicky pains, numbness, cramp, irritability of the bowels, attended with
mucous discharges, great prostration of strength, a feverish condition and
wasting of the body.

Medical writers have recorded various deaths among children from the
use of the paper ; and it is held by eminent toxicologists that many insidious
cases of illness and chronic diseases may be referred to the noxious practice
of covering the walls of sitting-rooms and bedrooms with arsenic

The manufacture, as well as the use, of paper thus colored with arsenite
of copper, or any other poisonous compound, should be prohibited by leg-
islative enactment

The sub-chloride and carbonates of copper are also irritant poisons, but
ard not employed to any extent in the arts and medicine.

The action of certain articles of food on copper, when it is^used for
culinary purposes, is not an unfrequent cause of accidental poisoning.

Metallic copper undergoes no change by contact with water, unless air
is present, when a hydrated carbonate, mixed with oxide of copper is formed.
If the water contain any acid, such as vinegar, or common salt, or if there
is oily or fatty matter in contact with the metal, then the copper is more
rapidly oxidized, and the liquor or fat acquires a greeu color.



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CCCXLII Preventable Cause* of Dtsease : Joseph Jones, M. 2>.

If the copper vessel is kept perfectly clean, and the food prepared in it
is allowed to cool in other vessels, there is no great risk of its acquiring a
poisonous impregnation.

The sanitarian, however, should insist that no acid, saline, fatty or oily
liquid should be prepaied as an article of fotid in a copper vessel.

The preparation of fruits, such as preserves, and the boiling of milk,
coffee and tea in copper vessels, shold be discontinued.

In this form of copper poisoning the symptoms rarerly appear until
after the lapse of three or four hours, and are characterized by nausea,
vomiting, colicky pains, and pinching cramps in the limbs.

It should be fnrther observed that all the ordinary copper employed in
culinary vessels contaiins arsenic. It has been stated that an impure
alloy used by some dentists has been so largely composed of copper as to
affect the health of those who have used the plates. The acids and salts in
the saliva facilitate the production of a poisonous salt of copper, and prob-
ably set free arsenic.

In the making of preserved fruits and vegetable pickles, the salts of
copper (blue vitriol) are sometimes used for the purpose of giving a rich
green color.



LEAD AND IIS COMPOUNDS.

Lead and its compounds occasion, peihaps, a greater number of eases of
disease and death than any other poison, and, in fact, than all other
poisons combined.

In the use of lead pipes and lead cisterns it has been established that
the purest forms of water, like that furnished by the clouds and stored in
our cisterns, act most energetically upon lead, and most rapidly induce
symptoms of lead poisoning — violent cramps (colica pictonum J and genera]
paralysis.

The use of lead pipes, lead gutters, or lead tanks, for conveying and
storing water in this city, is fraught with danger to health and life.

Some estimate of the effects of lead as a poison upon the citizens of New
Orleans may be formed by examining the records of our great Hospital.

OASES OF DEATHS FROM COLICA P1NCTONUM (LEAD COLIO) IN THE
CHARITY HOSPITAL OF NEW ORLEANS DURING A PERIOD OF TII1R
TT-FOUfc YEARS, 1842—1880.

During the 18 years preceding the civil war (1842-1860) the total admis-
sions into the Charity Hospital from all causes numbered 207,356; total,
death 8, 29,616, 14.2 per cent; and during this period 710 cases of colica
pictonum were treated, with 15 deaths — per cent, 2 7. During the 16 years
following the civil war (1864-1880) the total admissions numbered 06,857 ;
deaths, 14,104; percent; 14.5; colica pictonum, li2; deaths, 4; per cent
of deaths, 3.2.

During 34 years (1842-1880) the total admissions numbered 304,214;
total death 8, 43,710; 14.3 per cent deaths; total cases of colica pictonum
during this period 840, with 19 deaths. We find upon careftil analysis of
the records that during this same period of 34 years, 684 cases of colic,
with 5 deaths, were entered upon the books of the Charity Hospital* a
large portion of which were, without doubt, due to the slow action of lead
upon the human system.

If to these statistios it were possible to add the large number of patients
entered with paralysis caused by lead, it will show that not less than 2000



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Preventable Causes of Dieeaee: Joeeph Jones, M. D. CCCXLIII

of the citizens of New Orleans have been compelled daring the past 34
years to seek relief and treatment for the effects of lead within the walls
of the Charity hospitol ; of coarse a far greater number thus afflicted did
not seek relief at the hands of charity.

Various destructive and corrosive poisons, as sulphuric, nitric and hydro-
chloric acids, are extensively used iu the arts, manufactures and agricul-
ture, and can at all times be purchased in any quantity desired. The
same thing is true of oxalic acid, a potent vegetable poisou, and used by
shoemakers, aud also by washwomen to remove ink stains, etc., from
clothes.



POISONOUS EFFECTS OF CYANIDE OF POTASSIUM.

Cyanide of potassium is one of the most formidable poisons known to
to the chemist ; and the extensive use of this salt in certain arts, and
especially in photography, has given rise to many accideuts, and also
afforded facilities for its easy procurement for suicide and poisoning.



GASEOUS POISONS.
No subject is of greater importance to the sanitarian than the effects
of impurities in the atmosphere upon the health and comfort of the peo-
ple. The full discussion of the effect of aerial poisons upon the human
race would embrace such questions as —

1. The variations of the constituents of the atmosphere under the con-
ditions of climate and soil.

2. The variations iu the normal amounts of carbonic acid aqaeous
moisture, ammouia, nitric acid, sulphuretted hydrogen, carburetted hydro-
gen, organic alburaenoid matters, and living animal and vegetable cells.

3. The effects of terrestrial exhalations aud emanations upou the atmos-
phere. Under this head would be included the matters and gases ejected
by volcanic eruptions, and the various products of the putrefaction of ani-
mal and vegetable compounds, in swamps, cess pools, gutters and sewers.

4. The effects of variations in the composition of the atmosphere and
in the matter, gases aud germs resulting from putrefaction. In this re-
port we propose to limit our researches to the followiug :

POISONOUS EFFECTS OF ILLUMINATING AND HEATING GASES WATEB
GAS (HYDROGEN AND CARBONIC OXIDE), AND OF COAL GAS (CARBU-
RETTED HYDROGEN AND CARBONIC OXIDE.)

The reletive merits of water gas and coal gas, as well as their compara-
tive poisonous effects, have recently engaged the attention of the civic
authorities of this and other States, aud the question, as far as it relates
to the city of New Orleans, was referred by the Mayor and City Council
to the President of the Board of Health of the State of Louisiana.

CONCLUSIONS.

From the preceeding facts we conclude:

1. Water gas is superior to the ordinary coal gas in heating power.

2. Water gas can be furnished at less cost to the consumer than ordi-
nary coal gas.

3. The products or effects of burning water gas are less objectionable
and less injurious than those arising from the combustion of gas from coal
gas.

4. AH forms of illuminating gases, from whatever source derived, are
poisonous when inhaled iu large quantities, or in small quantities during
couaiderable periods of time.



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CCCXLIV PnventabU C*u$e$ of Di*a$e : Jowph Jonet, M. D.

5. The public health should be secured from the accideuts arising from
imperfect apparatus for supplying illuminating gases, by the most stringent
laws, and by repeated and thorough inspections.

5. The subject of the influence of illuminating gases upon the health of
cities and towns should receive thejcareful attention of the Board of Health.

7. One argument in favor of the electric light as contrasted with that
furnished by illuminating gas is, that it is neither explosive uor poisonous,
and produces little or no injurious contamination of the surrounding at-
mosphere.



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Preventable Causes of Dtoease : Jo$eph Jones, M. D.



CCCXLV



ACTUAL NUMBER OF CASES OP POISONING, ACCIDENTAL
OB INTENTIONAL, IN NEW ORLEANS,

The great Charity Hospital of the city ftirnishes the most important
field for this investigation, and I have examined, classified and consoli-
dated its records with care, with the following results :

TOTAL ADMISSIONS AND DEATHS FROM ALL CAU8E8, AND TOTAL CASES
AND DEATHS FROM POI80N IN THE CHARITY HOSPITAL OF NEW OR-
LEANS, DURING A PERIOD OF THIRTY-TWO YEARS-1842-1881, BY JOSEPH
JONES, M. D.





Admissions


Deaths.


Poison.




Years.


Cases.


Deaths.


Remarks.


1842


4404
5013
5846


704

1041

713


2
2
2


1






1843

1844

1845




1846...


8044
11945
15558
18476
1*319
17957
13759
13192
12192
9432
8897
11337
12775
14000


855
1897
2741
1884
1869
2098
3164
2702
2391

974
1017
2299
1321
1390



1
5
2




3
1




1848 ;.


Laudanum.


1849


Laudanum.


1850


Laudanum.


1851


1 1


Laudanum.


1852

1853


1
1


2






1
1



1







Chloroform.


1854




1865




1856


Laudanum.


1857




1858

1859




1860








Total for 17 years






19


9







Admissions.


Deaths.


Poison.




Years.


Cases.


Deaths.


Remarks.


1864

1866


4861
9329

8612
4981
6177
7837
6651
5541

5090
5231
4845
5690
6002
5246
4884


812
1122

1438
490
784

1118
891
825

993
860
753
742

805
693
658


2

9

3
9
2
7
6
7

6
2
5

7
4
8
8


2
2

1
4


2
3

2

1

1
2
4

1


Arsenic 1, laildanum 1
Belladonna 1, nitric acid 1,


1867

1868

I860

1870

1871

1872 . ....

1873 .. ..

1874


opium 1, camphor 1.
Phosphorus 1.

Opinm 3, arsenic 1, strych-
nine 1.
Sulphate of zinc 1, opium 4.
Opium 2.

Opium 2, strychnine 1.
Opinm 4.

Opium 2, carbolic ticid 1.
Arsenic 2, opium 3.


1875

1876

1877

1879


1880


Phosphorus 2, opium 3,
chloral 1, poison oak.


Total for 15 years.






85 | 25










DlCJltlZGCl v/v/H iv



CCCXLVI



Preventable Causes of Disease: Joseph Jones, M. D.



It will be observed that during a period of seventeen years — 1842-1860
— nineteen cases of acute poisoning [exclusive of lead poisoning] were
treated, about one-half [nine] of which proved fatal ; while during a period
of fifteen years [1864-1880] following the recent civil war eighty-five cases
of acute poisoning [excluding lead poisoning] were treated, less than one-
third [twenty-five] proved fatal.

These facts would indicate that poisoniug is becoming more frequent in
New Orleans.

At this time it is clearly shown that the disease and death arising from
the administration of poison, either for purposes of suicide or malice, form
but a very small fraction of the total diseases and deaths from all causes
in New Orleans.

The comparatively small effect of poison upon the death rate of New
Orleans is still further illustrated by a consideration of the large number
of patients treated in the Charity Hospital for mechanical injuries, as
shown by the following statistics :



DURING 18 YEARS— 1842-60.


DURING 16 YEARS — 1864-80.


DURING 34 YEARS— 1842-80.


Causes.


Cases.


Deaths


Causes.


Cases.

442
12

1202
863
209

3415


Deaths


Causes.


Cases.


Death


Barns


547

274

1962

4417

308

3319


73
33

227

29

4

189


Bnrns

Scalds

Fractures

Contusions . . .

Luxations

Wounds


79

1

103

13

2

134


Burns


989

286

3164

5280

517

6464


158


Scalds

Fractures. . . .

Contusions

Luxations ..
Wounds


Scalds

Fractures

Contusions

Luxations

Wounds


34
330

42

6

323


Total......










16700


887



Whilst, therefore, during a period of thirty-four years, 16,700 cases of
wounds and mechanical injuries, with 887 deaths resulting therefrom, were
treated in the Charity Hospital, only 104 cases, with 34 deaths, by poison-
ing were reported.



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Preventable Cause* of Disease : Joseph Jones, M. D.



CCCXLVn



The deaths occasioned by accidental or intentional poisoning in New
Orleans, generally, in like manner, form but a small proportion of the
deaths, and are tar less than those occasioned by violence, as will be seen
from the following table :

DEATHS FROM POISONING, SUICIDE, KILLING AND MURDERING, AND FROM
. GENERAL AND LOCAL INJURIES IN NEW ORLEAN8, DURING A PERIOD
OF 23 YEAR8.



YEAR.


Deaths from
poison.


Suicide.


Killed or
Murdered.


Local
Injuries.


General
Injuries.


Total deaths

from
aU Causes.


1849


5

9

4

1

5

7

3

4

11

6

8



6

19

7

11

18

11

10

2

I

2

4



10
14
20
19
21
20
10

7

16
19

8
11
14
26

9
20
18
12

3
16
21
20


**26

18

6

31

9

6

55

17

3

5

14

IS

27

12

12

9

9

10

8

4


91
66
47
51
59
77
60
49
40
31
72
57
86
80
77
56
119
70
66
36
52
42
43


165
156
200
127
109
183
237
123
133
126
102
152
137
190
218
149
182
161
154
182
147
119
128


9862


1850


7819


1853........

1856

1857....

185? t ...

1860


15787
5069
5581

11720
7341


1865

1866


7016

7754


1867

1868


10096
5343


1869....


5693


1870

1871

1872


6942
6069

6588


1873


7995


1874

1875


7193
6536


1876


6685


1877

1878


7169
10717


1879


5122


1880


5623






Total


164


334


309


1428


3580


168255



During a period of twenty-three years there perished in New Orleans by
poison, 154 ; by suicide, 334 ; killed or murdered, 309 ; by local injuries
1328; by general injuries, 3580; out of a grand total ot deaths from all
causes, of 168,255.



SOCIETY FOE THE RECOVERY AND RESCUE OF DROWNED
PEOPLE— DROWNED IN AND AROUND NEW ORLEANS.

It is worthy of note, on the other hand, that the number drowned an-
nually in the city of New Orleans exceeds those dying by poison and sui-
cide. Thus in 1860 the deaths by drowning numbered 88 ; 1861, 79; 1867,
80 ; 1868, 62 ; 1869, 59 ; 1870, 69 ; 1871, 74 ; 1872, 64 ; 1873, 77 ; 1874, 93 ; 1875,
73:1877, 61; 1878, 59; 1880, 54.

During the fourteen years specified 1002 (one thousand and ttf o) of the
inhabitants of New Orleans perished by drowning. Without doubt, the
majority of the unfortunate beings perished in the full vigor of manhood
and womanhood. The value of each inhabitant to the State has been es-
timated at $1000 (one thousand dollars), and if this estimate be accepted,
New Orleans has lost, through this channel alone, one million of dollars
during the past fourteen years. But this is a mercenary view, and leaves
out of view the physical, mental and moral distress of the afflicted friends
and families.



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CCCXLVIII



Preventable Causes of Disease : Joseph Jones, M. D.



Situated upou the banks of the most important river in the world, whose
bosom is plowed by the ships of all nations, New Orleans, of all cities,



Online LibraryMoritz RohrBiennial report of the Louisiana State Board of Health. 1883/84 → online text (page 54 of 61)