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ROYAL MEEKER, Commissioner

(WHOLE 0 1 Q




S E R IE S :




MAY, 1917





Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 5-13
Physiological action of poisons......................................................................................... 14-57
Nitrogeh oxide poisoning—‘‘ Fume sickness ” ...................................................... 14^23
Nitric acid...................................................................................................................... 23,24
Sulphuric acid fumes (sulphur d ioxid e)................................................................
Mixed acids....................................................................................................................
Benzol and toluol, or m ethyl b enzol...................................................................... 25-27
Phenol, or carbolic acid .............................................................................................. 27-29
Nitro and amido derivatives of the benzene series............................................. 29-48
Picric acid .............................................................................................................. 33-35
Trinitrotoluol, or toluol or triton or trotyl or T N T ................................... 35-45
Nitrobenzol............................................................................................................ 45,46
Nitrochlorbenzol and dinitrochlorbenzol......................................................
A n ilin ...................................................................................................................... 46,47
D iphenylam in.......................................................................................................
D im ethylanilin.....................................................................................................
Tetranitranilin...................................................................................................... 47,48
Tetranitromethylanilin or tetryl......................................................................
Nitroglycerin................................................................................................................. 48-50
Fulminate of mercury................................................................................................. 50, 51
E thyl nitrite..................................................................................................................
Ammonia gas.................................................................................................................
Ammonium nitrate.................................................................................................. :. 52, 53
Amyl acetate.................................................................................................................
A cetone.............. ............................................................................................................
Chlorine gas.................................................................................................................... 53, 54
Alcohol and ether.........................................................................................................54-57
Influence of alcohol on poisoning from volatile compounds..................................... 57-59
Manufacture of poisons....................................................................................................... 59-92
Nitric acid ...................................................................................................................... 59,60
Sulphuric acid ............................................................................................................... 61, 62
Acid recovery................................................................................................................
Nitrocellulose................................................................................................................. 62-70
Centrifugal or mechanical n itra tio n ............................................................... 63-66
Pot nitration or direct dipping......................................................................... 66-69
Displacement process.......................................................................................... 69, 70
Smokeless powder and military gun cotton.......................................................... 70-72
Picric acid...................................................................................................................... 72-76
Phenol............................................................................................................................. 76-79
Nitroglycerin................................................................................................................. 79, 80
Trinitrotoluol................................................................................................................. 80-84




Manufacture of poisons— Continued.
Filling shells w ith trinitrotoluol............................................................................... 84-88
N itronaphthalenes................................... ....................................................................
Nitrobenzol and a n ilin ................................................................................................ 88,89
T etryl............................................................................................................................... 89,90
D iphenylam in................................................................................................................
Fulminate of mercury................................................................................................. 90-92
Ammonium nitrate......................................................................................................
Prevention of industrial poisoning in the manufacture of explosives................... 92-98
Records from three model plants........................................................................... 97, 98
Treatment............................................................................................................................. 99-102
Appendix A.—Safety standards of industrial board, Pennsylvania Department
of Labor and Industry................................................................................................. 103-115
Appendix B .—Rules and regulations suggested for safety in the manufacture
of benzene derivatives and explosives, Massachusetts State Board of Labor
and Industries............................................................................................................... 116-120
Appendix C.—TNT manufacture in Great Britain—precautionary measures. 121-13q
Appendix D.—Tentative safety standards of the State of Pennsylvania for the
manufacture of nitro and amido com pounds....................................................... 131-138


WHOLE NO. 2 1 9 .


MAY, 1917.





The European war has made the munitions industry a very impor­
tant one in the United States. Up to the outbreak of the war the
manufacture of explosives in this country was largely limited to what
is known as peace explosives, for mining and construction operations
and for agriculture, but the demand from Europe for war-time
explosives met with a quick response. Works were erected to manu­
facture guncotton, picric acid, trinitrotoluol, and other high explo­
sives, and for filling shells with such charges. From time to time
we are told that the rush of contracts is over, but there is still much
of this work done for exportation. Nor is it to be regarded as a
temporary industry, one th at may be ignored as of little risk to the
health of the workers, because it w ill come to an end with the
present war. Even if the demand for munitions should cease with
the declaration of peace there is every probability th at these fac­
tories will still be utilized, if not for the manufacture of high explo­
sives, then for the making of closely allied products. Formerly we
imported benzol and toluol from Germany; now, because they are
indispensable for the production of explosives, we have learned to
distill them, and certainly we shall continue to do so and to apply
them to many uses for which formerly they were too expensive.
Carbolic acid was imported. I t is now made here in great quanti­
ties and will continue to be. Plants built and equipped to make
guncotton may be used to make celluloid and picture films. I t is
probable that some of these newer explosives may take the place of
nitroglycerin for blasting and excavating. So it would be a great
mistake to look upon the industry as accidental and transient. I t
is a permanent addition to American industrial life and deserves
careful scrutiny lest the dangers due to its hasty beginning and
rapid growth become fastened upon it.
1 The technical parts of this report have been submitted to several experts in the
chemistry and manufacture of explosives.



We have manufactured nitroglycerin for many years, and, to a
small extent, fulminate of mercury, guncotton, smokeless powder,
even trinitrotoluol in one plant, but it was only in a few longestablished works th a t the dangers involved in the industry were
well understood, and there were only a few doctors connected with
these companies who knew anything about the industrial poisons
th at were encountered in the different processes. When the new
plants sprang up after the war began they were, many of them, ex­
perimental in every sense of the word. Speed was the essential con­
sideration—to fill the contract within the specified time limit. Every­
thing else was of minor importance. Even some of the old-estab­
lished companies erected new plants in great haste and put up with
conditions far worse than they ever had permitted before the war.
On the other hand, new companies th at had been fortunate enough
to secure the services of men experienced in the manufacture did, in
rare instances, produce model plants.
Haste has been the chief evil in this industry since the outbreak
of the war. Contracts were accepted th at had to be filled within a
certain time; construction was started, but lagged because of short­
age of labor and delay in the delivery of machinery, and naturally
everything th a t was needed for the protection of the workmen was
postponed in favor of what was essential -for production. Men were
found working in buildings half finished. Fumes were heavy,
because exhausts had not yet been installed. One factory, which is
said to represent an investment of several million dollars, operated
for IT months with practically no exhausts to carry off very dan­
gerous fumes, with no medical care for the men, and without any
provision for personal cleanliness. In the heat of last July and
August the workmen would leave the plant covered with the poison­
ous dust in which they had been working, and, with unwashed hands,
would collect in the shade of a railway bridge to eat their lunch.
Another “ war bride ” plant was in process of construction but was
already employing several hundred men. I t was out in the country,
and attempted to house some of its workmen near the plant in some
old farmhouses, renting the beds to both day and night shifts. The
men were working regularly 12 hours out of the 24, but occasionally
they were induced to increase it to 14 hours. Much of this time was
spent in an atmosphere full of nitrous fumes or of picric acid dust,
for there had been no time to complete any effective system for the
prevention of these dangers. There were no lavatories, and a visit
to the lunch room built by the company showed a crowd of men,
with unwashed hands, eating their noon meal, and a fine coating of
yellow picric acid dust was smeared over the lunch counter.
There is no way of knowing how much illness and death resulted
from the mad rush during the first months of the war, before the



factories were in a position to carry on the work properly, to get out
the product.
Another thing that led to sickness in this work was its unfamiliarity. I t involved new problems in engineering th at had to be
solved by men with little or no experience with these substances and
reactions. So many of the more serious cases were engineers and
chemists who took risks to which they would not subject others, and
suffered in consequence. Undoubtedly also the newness of the sub­
stances employed and of their by-products was responsible for many
accidents. I t is plain that in some plants the occurrence of a serious
case of poisoning was the first thing th at aroused the management
to the fact that a certain process was really dangerous. Naturally
in a factory making explosives the danger of explosion is so great
that it first attracts attention, and the danger of poisoning, less spec­
tacular, but perhaps just as great, is not recognized till something
startling happens.
Still another evidence of the newness and unfam iliarity of this
industry is seen in the large number of cases of poisoning th at oc­
curred through some accident, something not inherent in the process.
Repairing stills or retorts which have been filled with poisonous
fluids is a fruitful source of serious poisoning. Others are leaking
pipes which let fumes escape, or violent decomposition with the pro­
duction of poisonous vapors, or a too rapid reaction producing a
“ boil-over.” Such accidents tend to become rarer all the time, but
they were frequent in the early months when the industry was still
in the experimental stage.
I f chemists and engineers were faced with a new problem, this
was even more true of the physicians living in the neighborhood of
explosives works. Such occurrences as cyanosis and syncope from
nitrobenzol fumes, of toxic hepatitis from trinitrotoluol, of edema
of the lungs from nitrous fumes, were totally new experiences to the
ordinary physician, and there was very little in the medical literature
to help him. I f his practice was near the factory he was at least
able to connect the illness with the occupation, and by careful ob­
servation he could build up for himself a picture of th at form of
industrial poisoning; but if, as is often the case, the workmen were
drawn from many scattered towns, the physicians in those towns
had no reason to suspect th at the symptoms complained of by their
patients were occupational in origin. This makes it extremely diffi­
cult to trace cases of poisoning in this industry, and it also explains
why men who were suffering from symptoms th a t should have been
regarded as grave were allowed to go back to work in a poisoned
atmosphere till they were so ill they gave up of their own accord.
Several of the histories we secured of deaths from occupational
poisoning show that if the condition had been recognized in the early
stages the victim might have been saved.



All these features of the industry are improving, but unevenly and
incompletely. There are fewer accidents to machinery, fewer unex­
pected reactions; the services of physicians are usually provided, and
these physicians are far better fitted to cope with the problems than
they were at first; there are more experienced workmen, which means
less blundering. On the other hand, labor is still hard to get, and
foremen are therefore often unwilling to shift or discharge a work­
man who shows suspicious signs and who should be relieved of work
exposing him to poisons. There is still a great labor turnover; still
many men entering the industry utterly ignorant of any danger ex­
cept that of explosion, and the shortage of labor often leads a short­
sighted management to refrain from giving proper instructions to
these men for fear of frightening them away. Labor shortage also
leads to the evil against which the British committee on the health
of munition workers has spoken so emphatically—working overtime.
Fatigue quickens and strengthens the effect of poisons of all kinds.
F o r all these reasons it seems tim ely to set forth in detail the con­
ditions in this industry as they existed in the spring, summer, and
fall of 1916, recognizing the fact th at during the m onths th a t have
elapsed since November, 1916, improvements m ay have taken place
in some of these plants and th a t some of the w orst have either been
destroyed or shift down. The conditions described are still to be
found in this industry in the U nited States, and some of the
dangers are inherent in the industry and will always have to be
guarded against. The poisons whose physiological effects will be
described are those th a t will always be encountered in this work,
and it is most im portant th a t superintendents and physicians learn to
recognize th eir action and learn how other more experienced coun­
tries have guarded th eir workers against them.
Description of the i/ndustry.—The making of black powder, or­
dinary gunpowder, does not carry with it any danger of occupa­
tional poisoning, and it is not included in this study. The explosives
that do involve in their manufacture several poisonous substances
are the following:

N itrocellulose, or nitrocotton, including pyroxylin and m ilitary
gu n cotton __________________________________________________
Smokeless powder, including nitroglycerin powders___________
Picric acid and ammonium picrate__________________________
N itroglycerin and d y n a m ite__________________________________
Trinitrotoluol, or TNT or triton (m ade in 4, handled in 4 ) ____
Fulm inate of mercury (m ade in 2, handled in 3 ) _____________
Tetranitraniline, or T NA _____________________________________
T etranitrom ethylanilin, or tetry l____________________________
N itronaphthalenes __________________________________________
Ammonium nitrate (m ade in 4, handled in 8 ) _______________




Dangerous substances are also used in the production o f these
explosives, and they are included in the study. They comprise the
following list:

N itric acid (m a d e )_____________ _____________________________
Sulphuric acid (m a d e )______________________________________
Benzol and toluol (m a d e)____________________________________
Nitrobenzol (m a d e)__________________________________________
Anilin oil (m a d e)____________________________________________
Chlorbenzol and dinitrochlorbenzol (m a d e)___________________
Phenol or carbolic acid (m ade in 7, handled in 1 1 )__________
Sulphuric ether (m ade in 5, handled in 1 0 )__________________
Mercuric nitrate (m a d e )_____________________________________
Amyl acetate (m ade in 1, handled in 2 ) _____________________


Other compounds with toxic properties more or less pronounced
are used in making explosives, but were not manufactured in any o f
the plants visited:

A m m o n ia___________________________ ________________________ _3 •
Caustic soda or sodium hydrate______________________________ _6
Chile saltpeter or sodium n itrate_____________________________ _15
Acetone _____________________________________________________ _4

Finally, there are certain poisons that are evolved in the course
o f chemical reactions, as by-products, or in intermediate stages in the
making of explosive compounds. Some of these are the most impor­
tant poisons encountered in the explosives industry:
Oxides of nitrogen or nitrous fumes. In all processes of nitration.
Sulphur dioxide. In m aking carbolic acid.
Chlorine gas. In m aking nitric acid.
E thyl nitrite. In m aking mercury fulm inate.

These compounds vary greatly in their toxicity, some o f them pro­
ducing only disagreeable skin eruptions, others being rapidly fatal
after a short exposure.

Distribution of the industry.—Much of the work for export is done
on the A tlantic seaboard, New Jersey leading among the States. The
factories that were visited in the course of this investigation are situ­
ated in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Indiana.
There are 41, employing a total force of about 90,000 workers, but
the number of those whose work brings them in contact with poisons
is only about 30,000, and this study was confined to such processes
as involve exposure to poisons. We did not take account of accidents
from explosions, nor of acid burns, only of occupational sickness.
Visits were made during the early spring, the heat of midsummer,
the late fall, and early winter, so th at it was possible to estimate the
difference in conditions caused by variations in temperature and



Character of employees.—T hirty thousand persons are needed to
make up the force employed at any time in work exposing them to
poisons, but a much larger number of people is so exposed during
the year, for the labor turnover is extraordinarily great in this
industry, and greatest in just those departments where poisonous
fumes and dusts exist. In one very admirably managed plant it was
necessary to employ about 4,000 men during 13 months to keep up a
force of 200. In another on one day in April, when nothing excep­
tional had happened, 249 men quit or were discharged, and 225 new
men were taken on. The physician in charge of a plant employing
3,800 men showed his record of physical examinations of men apply­
ing for employment and needed in the plant. In four months he had
examined no less than 4,307 men.
The great majority of those employed in these processes in Ameri­
can factories are men. Very few women or girls are found employed
in work exposing them to poisonous gases or dusts. In places where
percussion caps are made large numbers of women come in contact
with fulminate of mercury, but that is among the least dangerous
poisons on our list and rarely causes any trouble more serious than an
itching eruption on face and hands. One plant which fills high-ex­
plosive shells employs .women in work necessitating the handling of
trinitrotoluol, tetranitranilin, and tetryl, all dangerous poisons.
Here there have been serious cases of occupational disease among the
women, but in none of the other places where similar work is done are
women employed. The absence of boys also is very noteworthy.
The nationality of the force varies according to the locality. In
a large works in Virginia many Americans were found doing the
skilled and semiskilled work, while in the unskilled occupations
there were Roumanians and Syrians and Greeks. In New Jersey
there are many Negroes, especially in the newer plants, where they
sometimes do all the dangerous work except the supervision. Since
many of the companies m anufacturing for export to the allies have
to refuse men who come from the territory of the Central Powers,
the demand for Negroes is unusually great, and there is also an un­
usual number of Russians and Italians employed.
Watyes a/nd housing.—I t is probably fair to say that, on the whole,
wages are high and living conditions poor in many of these places.
Necessarily the new plants have had to be built at a distance from
centers of population—even from villages—because of the dread of
explosions. Consequently the force has had to be housed in what­
ever quarters could be hastily secured; in old farmhouses trans­
formed into barracks; in shacks built to last only a few m onths; even
in tents. These provisions have never been adequate, and men -have
traveled miles every day to reach the plant from their lodgings in



the nearest town. Even there accommodations were insufficient and
rooms have been rented to more than one shift of men. In one charm­
ing old town, with every appearance of comfort and prosperity,
three shifts of men were found sleeping in the lodging houses, the
men renting beds for eight hours and then giving them up to the
next shift.
In contrast to such a condition are the model villages erected near
some of the big powder plants, especially those owned by the old
established companies. Here the housing may be excellent, the sani­
tation beyond reproach, the sanitary control adequate. Yet even in
these places, the provision for the foreign workman who has no
family with him, or for Negroes, may be quite different. Over­
crowded barracks with three-decked cots, with far too little air
space, and with no water supply except from hydrants out of doors,
are put up for these men by the very companies that furnish such
healthful accommodations for their white American employees.
Hours of work.—Three-shifts of eight hours each are the rule in
this industry, two shifts the exception. Four plants work the men in
two shifts and one of these has even urged them to work overtime
for 14 or 16 hours when labor was scarce. I t is sometimes hard to
prevent men who are on eight-hour shifts from working two shifts
and making double pay, and, of course, if the foreman is short
of help he will wink at this, but it means th at the man is incurring a
grave risk of poisoning.
Amount of industrial poisoning discovered in this inquiry.—I t is
impossible to give accurate figures as to the amount of sickness and
death caused by work in this industry since the war broke out, for
the information can not be secured. Many cases were never recog­
nized, many others were seen by company physicians or insurance
physicians, who are unwilling to give any information or tell any­
thing about them. In each of the better factories there is usually a
physician employed by the company who sees all but a few of the cases
of sickness in the force. He may be unwilling to give information
th at might seem damaging to his employers, or he may not be able
to give it because he has kept no records and has only a general im­
pression, no detailed knowledge. He can strengthen the impres­
sion already gained that there is poisoning in connection with cer­
tain kinds of work, but he can not add specific cases to the list.
Then there are factories, some of them employing hundreds of men,
where there is either no medical care or it is so inadequate as to be
of little use. In such a factory the general carelessness and indiffer­
ence to the welfare of the men are so great th at nobody can be found
who is in a position to give trustworthy information about sickness in
the working force. I f the men fall ill they quit work and go to some



doctor in a neighboring town who may know nothing about the sort
of work they have been doing and therefore never thinks of reporting
the case as one of occupational poisoning. One physician writes as
follows, concerning a shell plant where several deaths had recently
occurred and where it was impossible to obtain any medical records:
“ I t has been reported to me th at a still larger number of deaths have
occurred. The workers are drawn for temporary employment from
localities all around here and from a considerable distance away. I t
must be very difficult to diagnose these cases which occur sporadically
in a town a t a distance from the plant. Medical and funeral expenses
are met by the company, and those who act for the company give to
the family or patient some diagnosis which is insufficient to serve as
a ground for legal action.”
One or two instances will show that the list of cases of poisoning
in this industry which we have been able to compile does not at all
represent the real number, or, in fact, more than a small proportion,
of it. In one plant, where unusually careful supervision of the men’s
health is maintained, the cases of so-called “ fume sickness were said
to number almost 500 during five months’ tim e; but it was not pos­
sible to discover how many had occurred during the other seven
months of the year, nor was it possible to obtain as detailed a state­
ment as that from any of the other cotton-nitrating plants.
One instance will illustrate the striking difference between two
factories carrying on the same sort of work, and it will also serve
to show how incomplete is the list of cases of occupational poisoning
which we have been able to secure. Two factories fill shells with
trinitrotoluol. One had a physician in charge who was willing to
show his complete records, covering some 300 cases of poisoning from
this substance, with two deaths. This would make a mortality of
about 1 in 150 cases. The second had just put a doctor in charge,
who either would not or could not give any information about
poisoning in the plant, but from other sources we secured the records
of five deaths from trinitrotoluol. Now, if the same rate of mor­
tality obtained in this factory as in the first, we should add 750
cases to our list, and very likely that would be no exaggeration; but
since it has seemed safer not to include any cases except those re­
ported by physicians, we have been able to charge only five to the
account of this second plant.
Of course this brings about a very contradictory result, for, to
judge by our records, the best managed factories have the largest
number of cases; the worst have few or none.



This is the list of industrial poisonings th a t occurred in 28 plants
in the space of about a year. Thirteen plants could not be included
for lack of inform ation:
Number of cases.

Fatal cases.

Nitrogen oxides and nitric acid.....................
Picric a cid...........................................................
Nitrobenzol and nitrotoluol...........................
Benzene and tolu ol...........................................
Sulphuric ether..................................................
A nnin...................................................................
Sulphuric a cid...................................................
Mixed acids.....................................................
Chlorine gas.........................................................
Ammonia gas.....................................................
Mercury.............. : ...............................................
Fulminate of mercury......................................
N itronaphthalene..........................................


Total.................... .♦...................................


























Though all of these were serious enough to come under the obser­
vation of a physician, they vary in severity from a case of rapidly
fatal congestion of the lungs caused by nitrous fumes to a case of
eczema from filling caps with fulminate. There were nine other fatal
cases, all men, six from triton and three from nitrous fumes, which
were reported to us either by men who were not physicians or at
second hand by physicians who had only heard of the occurrences
and had not themselves seen the men. I t has seemed best not to in­
clude these in our enumeration, although some of them had every
mark of authenticity.
Those listed under the head of fulminate were all mild and of
slight importance. Those under anilin were more serious, but far
less so than most of the cases on the list. Subtracting these 316,
there are left about 2,200 cases of occupational poisoning, either
serious at the time or likely to become so. The 702 who had triton
poisoning were not all very ill, but experience has shown that in this
form of poisoning an apparently slight case may suddenly change to
a severe or fatal form. The same thing is true in nitrous fume
poisoning. All the benzol cases, those from picric acid, from phenol,
from mineral acids, and from nitrobenzol, were serious if not fatal in
In this report the physiological effects of the various poisons will
be described first, and then the processes of manufacture in which
they are encountered.




The process of nitration is essential for all the products which are
covered by this investigation. In making of explosives it is nec­
essary to provide oxygen in some easily available form to cause com­
bustion of the substances which make up the explosive, and this is
usually done by treating them with nitric acid in such a way th at the
group N 0 2 enters into combination, the oxygen of which is readily
given up. Because all these explosives are nitrated compounds the
most common form of poisoning in the industry is th at from nitrogen
oxide fumes—usually called nitrous fumes—which are given off more
or less in all nitration processes. The higher the nitration the greater
the danger from fumes, unless great precautions are taken. The
1,300 to 1,400 men on our list who suffered from these fumes were
employed in making nitrocellulose, or nitrocotton, picric acid or
trinitrophenol, the nitrotoluols, nitrobenzols, nitronaphthalenes,
nitroglycerin, and the nitric acid needed for these processes.

In the making of explosives a mixed acid is used for nitration,
one ingredient of which is sulphuric acid and the other nitric acid
100 per cent strong. When it is remembered that the “ strong ” or
“ fuming ” nitric acid of the chemical laboratory is only about 70
per cent pure it can readily be seen how great is the danger from
fumes in connection with this work. When the mixed acid is ex­
posed to the air, or when it is being mixed with the substances to
be nitrated, a rapid decomposition sets up at once, with the evolution
of the lower oxides of nitrogen, which rapidly take up oxygen from
the air and change to the higher oxides. The lower oxides are pale
or colorless; the higher are of a deep orange color. I t is almost
always easy to discover the site of a nitric acid or a nitrating plant
by the yellow color which tints the sky over it and which often is
deep and dense enough to be seen for several miles. Sometimes de­
composition takes place suddenly and violently enough to reduce the
nitric acid to a finely atomized spray, and this is caught and mingled
with the oxide fumes.
These gases, known usually as nitrous fumes, are very irritating to
one who is unaccustomed to them, but the workmen soon establish
a good deal of tolerance, and the visitor to the factory may be choked
and tearful and speechless in an atmosphere which seems to be caus­
ing no discomfort to the men who work there. I f something goes
wrong and there is an unusual production of fumes the air becomes
unbearable even to the workmen, and unless they run to the fresh air



they may become badly poisoned. Unfortunately the immediate
effect of breathing these fumes is often not painful enough to give
the men sufficient warning of danger. Many men have stayed in the
poisoned atmosphere long enough to cause damage to the throat or
lungs, and yet at the time they did not realize th at anything more
serious was happening than a u choking ” from the gas.
Autopsies on fatal cases usually reveal quite extensive changes,
especially in the lungs. The order in which these changes take place
has been described by several experimenters. K ockel 1 found in rab­
bits which had been exposed to nitrous fumes a general thrombosis
in the capillaries of the lungs ,2 hyaline thrombi of degenerated red
blood cells. The alveoli were filled with plugs of epithelial cells,
leucocytes, and fibrin. I f the animal lived for several days there
were areas of pneumonia and between them the tissue was emphysem­
atous in patches. H iltm an n 3 killed a guinea pig after only six min­
utes’ exposure to intense fumes. There was general emphysema and
hyperaemia of the lungs, but the epithelium of the air cells was
intact. He does not believe th a t the effect is th a t of a caustic p ri­
marily, for in another animal th at lived three hours and a half he
found this same condition of intact lining epithelium. The lungs
were distended, hypersemic, showing patches of emphysema and of
atelectasis. The framework was swollen and soaked with yellowish
fluid. All abdominal organs were congested.
Hudson believes the injury done by inhalation of nitrous fumes to
be due not to absorption in the blood but to a local corrosive action,
very like th at of a burn on the skin. Congestion is followed in typical
cases by pulmonary edema, the rapidity and intensity of which are in
direct proportion to the concentration of the gases and the depth to
which they have been inhaled. He experimented on dogs, limiting
the action of the gas to the left lung by clamping off the right
bronchus, and in this way he succeeded in producing a typical pul­
monary edema on the left side, with a normal right lung, thus demon­
strating clearly the local irritative action of the nitrous fumes.4
Loeschke (quoted by Hiltm ann) finds also this locally caustic
effect, leading to a sloughing of the cells lining the alveoli of the lungs
and setting up inflammation in the lung tissues, which terminates in
edema. He insists further th at there is an action like th at of all
nitrites on the vasomotor system, shown in a general dilatation of the
blood vessels and also a solution of red blood corpuscles. Spleen,
kidneys, and liver must eliminate the products of this breakdown of
1 Quoted in Hiltmann. Vierteljahrresschrift fur gerichtliche medizin, 1915, p. 1.
2 Hudson has repeated Kockel’s experiments and in a personal communication states
that he has not been able to verify the occurrence of these capillary thrombi.
3 Vierteljahrresschrift fur gerichtliche medizin, 1915.
4 W. G. Hudson : Further Studies on Acid Fume Poisoning. E. I. du Pont de Nemours
Powder Co., Wilmington, Del.



red cells and show the damage caused by this effort at elimination.
H e finds methsemoglobin in the blood.
Whatever the difference of opinion as to the nature of the early
action of these fumes, there is no doubt as to the rapidly increasing
congestion of throat, trachea, and bronchioles, followed by swelling,
then by the pouring out of exudate. Acute swelling of the bronch­
ioles and acute hypersemia have been known to cause death in a work­
man, who for less than half an hour had been pumping nitric acid
from one receptacle to another— (Rambousek). Usually, however,
edema is the cause of the death th at occurs quickly after exposure
to the fumes.
H aldane 1 found th at exposure to 0.05 per cent of nitrogen oxide
fumes for half an hour would kill mice, death coming on after 24
Taking the purely local effects of the nitrous gases first, instances
were found of inflammation of the mouth, nasal passages, and throat.
One physician reported four cases of inflammation and ulceration
of the mucous membrane of the mouth, another an inflammation
of the nares so severe as to force the man to give up work. The effect
of the fumes on the teeth is notorious, for acid acts directly on the
The effect on the throat may show itself in inflammation of the
iarynx, sometimes severe enough to be alarming. Seven such cases
were found, in two of which edema of the larynx developed, neces­
sitating in one case the introduction of a laryngeal tube to prevent
suffocation. This man had inhaled rather concentrated fumes dur­
ing the morning, and the severe trouble in his throat did not come on
until the evening. Several physicians have said th at men who have
weak throats can not stand work in nitrous fumes.
I f the fumes have penetrated to the bronchial tubes and the lungs,
the first effect is an instinctive effort to shut out and to get rid of the
irritant. There is a strangling, spasmodic cough and the breath is
drawn in with an effort. The men say they feel a burning and smart­
ing in the chest and they can not breathe, because their lungs are
shrunk or “ tied up in a knot ” ; they have nothing to breathe with.
To an observer the attack resembles one of bronchial asthma and
doubtless the pathology is the same in those cases that respond read­
ily to fresh air and the administration of the usual first-aid treat­
ment—a few drops of chloroform in hot water and aromatic spirits
of ammonia. This relieves the spasm of the tubes and also acts as
a stimulant. I f no real damage has been done to bronchi or lungs,
the man may go back to work after an hour or so and be apparently
none the worse.
1 Quoted by Irvin e: British Medical Journal, 1916, p. 163.



These mild cases are so frequent in hot heavy weather th at they
attract little attention. In the summer of 1916, when the weather
was very hot, one guncotton plant where 300 men are engaged in
nitrating, used to have about 20 men every 24 hours who had to
go to the doctor with “ fume sickness,” but could return to work
that same day or night. One carefully managed factory, where
records are kept of all cases of sickness, had an average of 57 cases
of nitrous fumes poisoning in an average force of 600 men during
each month from June to September.
When enough gases have been inhaled to injure the tubes and lung
tissue, the man may for the moment seem to have no more than a
mild case of the usual fume sickness, but in a few hours serious
symptoms come on. This late appearance of the results of the in­
jury is characteristic not only of nitrous fumes poisoning, but of
that which follows inhaling ammonia gas, chlorine, and bromine, as
is seen in the numerous reports of gas poisoning in the trenches dur­
ing the present war.
The damage done may result in a bronchitis, with fever, necessi­
tating care in a hospital or at home for several days. Or it may re­
sult in pneumonia. According to H udson 1 this is a lobar pneumonia,
not lobular as one would expect. I t follows the usual type, only
that it is likely to be less severe, unless some lesion of the lungs was
present before the accident. For this reason and because Negroes
are more subject to pulmonary tuberculosis than are whites, the
largest explosives company prefers not to employ Negroes in the
nitration department. Unfortunately there are a number of plants
where only Negroes are to be found in these departments.
Pneumonia is probably a much more frequent result of the action
of these fumes than is generally admitted by the physicians in the
employ of nitration works. There are undoubtedly many cases of
pneumonia from this source th at are never listed as occupational.
A public hospital in the neighborhood of a large guncotton fac­
tory has on its books many cases of bronchitis and pneumonia, but
we could not establish any causal relation between the exposure
to nitrous fumes and the inflammatory process, because we could not
persuade the company physicians to admit th at such conditions were
ever caused by nitrous fumes. They were willing to recognize the
occupational character of the asthmatic attacks, and also of the
fatal edema, but not of any condition between these two extremes.
Obviously it is simply a question of intensity. Fumes not concen­
trated enough to set up a fatal congestion and edema may be strong
enough to cause inflammation, or in other words, bronchitis or

92776°—Bull. 219—17------ 2

M edical Record, 1917, vol. 91, p. 89.



As a matter of fact there is much experimental as well as clinical
evidence to prove that these results follow nitrous fumes inhalation.
Hudson has produced pneumonia in animals. The valuable study of
nitrous fumes poisoning published by H all and Cooper 1 contains
several histories of pneumonia. These two Denver physicians were
able to follow the subsequent histories of 18 firemen and 2 printers
who were poisoned by fumes from a broken carboy of nitric acid
in a printing shop. The mistake was made of throwing on sawdust
and using chemieal-fire extinguishers instead of drowning the acid
in water, and the fumes th at developed were severe enough to affect
20 men, 4 of whom died. The autopsy performed on one of the
victims, who died on the day after the accident, showed the changes
typical of rapid nitrous fumes poisoning, a congested, edematous con­
dition in the lungs, which were heavy and bled freely on section.
The bronchioles were full of bloody fluid and there were solid areas
around'them. Another fatal case did not die until a month after
the accident. Here the autopsy showed broncho-pneumonia with
almost complete solidification in places. Some of these solid areas
showed coagulation necrosis, the alveoli full of necrosed cells; others
showed* the beginning of fibrous change.
Loeschke also describes a typically rapid case, dying on the second
day of the immediate effects, and another who developed pneu­
monia and lived eight days.
One or two instances from the histories collected by us will illus­
trate this point. The first was a man employed in a guncotton
plant. He sickened on the 14th of the month and died on the 19th.
A t the beginning he complained of constant epigastric distress, with
attacks of pain, much eructation of gas, and occasional vomiting.
On the second day moist rales were heard over the anterior chest,
and he expectorated frothy, bloody sputum. On the fifth day his
heart action was weak and very irregular. Areas of consolidation
in the lungs had developed. H is pulse became thready, and he was
sent to the hospital, where he died the same day. Another case was
that of a young man of only 20 years who was h u rt at the time an
explosion of nitrous gases occurred and could not escape, but had
to be dragged out of the shed through a window. He had been
exposed for some minutes to heavy fumes before they got him out,
but he recovered fairly promptly from the first effects. The next
day he suffered from headache but nothing else, and did not develop
a cough until the fourth day. The symptoms in his lungs increased
very rapidly. He was transferred to a hospital in a neighboring
town where the physicians thought it was a case of unusually rapid
acute-miliary tuberculosis. But when the man died at the end of two
1 Journal American Medical Association, 1905, vol. 45, p. 396.



weeks the autopsy showed gangrene of the lungs, undoubtedly a
result of the original injury caused by the acid fumes.
When the physician is able to follow the case over a long period
of time he sometimes finds th at an apparent recovery is followed by
a relapse with symptoms like those of the original attack. H all and
Cooper state th at one-third of their cases suffered relapse, usually
within three weeks of the accident. Of the four fatal cases two
did not die from the early effects of the fumes, but from pneumonia
developing 22 and 30 days after. The conspicuousness of this acci­
dent and the fact th a t the men were firemen attracted special atten­
tion to them, and their histories were followed up more closely than
is the case with munition workers. By the time the latter have
developed the late form of poisoning, they have very likely entered
on other employment and the physician who treats them does not
connect their illness with an exposure to fumes some weeks before.
This late development of pneumonia is mentioned by O rth as
sometimes an im portant medico-legal point in a doubtful case.1
Fraenkel described a terminal bronchiolitis obliterans in a man who
had been exposed to nitrogen-oxid fumes, had suffered from acute
congestion, then apparently recovered, and a fortnight later began
to experience symptoms of the disease from which he died on the
sixth day. Autopsy showed no pneumonia, but a closure of the
bronchioles by proliferated connective tissue, and a general throm­
bosis of the smaller blood vessels.2
The duration of ill health after a single severe poisoning was
found by H all and Cooper to be fairly long. Nine months after the
accident 1 1 of the 16 men who survived had not yet regained their
usual health. They complained of shortness of breath, cough, pain
in the chest and loins, stomach troubles, and nervousness. Loss of
weight was general, ranging from 20 to 40 pounds.
The typical form in which severe and fatal nitrous fumes poisoning
appears is not a pneumonia; it is the congestion and edema which
have been already referred to, but which are im portant enough to
require detailed description. There are many references even in the
ante bellum medical literature to this peculiarly distressing kind of
poisoning. The earliest case in German literature seems to be that
described in 1884 by P o tt .3 A heap of artificial manure, containing
Chile saltpeter (sodium n itrate), caught fire, and no less than 30 work­
men who tried to put out the fire were injured by the fumes. Two
of them died. In English reports we read of nitrous fumes poisoning
from incomplete detonation of explosives in mining, especially on
the Rand .4 This same cause lies behind the wholesale poisoning
1 Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift, 1916, vol. 42, p. 208.
2 Spezelle Pathologie und Therapie der Lungenkrankheiten.
3 Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift, 1884, nrs. 29 and 30.
* Irvine, in British Medical Journal, 1916, p. 163,



which has occurred on battleships when smokeless powders have acci­
dentally exploded in a closed space without sufficient oxygen .1
The history of a typical case of this sort is as follows: The man
has a choking spell, perhaps no severer than he has had on other occa­
sions. He recovers and goes home, feeling fairly well and not appre­
hensive of any serious effects. Some hours later, perhaps after he
has gone to bed, he begins to “ choke up,” to cough, and be short of
breath. Sometimes he has cramps in the abdomen and vomiting.
One man who had been working in a picric-acid department where
the fumes were thick was carried into a doctor’s office unconscious,
livid, and gasping, with persistent vomiting and involuntary defeca­
tion. Usually, however, even if there is an involvement of the intes­
tinal tract, the symptoms in the lungs overshadow everything else.
There is an increasing air hunger; the man lies motionless, propped
up on pillows, his face livid, his eyes full of fear, unable to speak or
move, needing all his strength to labor fo r breath. A t first his cough
is dry. Then he begins to expectorate a sticky, frothy fluid which
may be bloodstained. As the dyspnoea increases his whole body may
become livid. He gradually loses consciousness, and just before
death there may be convulsions. An autopsy shows intense conges­
tion of the finer bronchioles and air vesicles, which last are filled with
an exudation of serum. I t is said that the man is actually drowned
in his own fluids.
Usually such cases follow some accident which has released an
unusual quantity of the poisonous gases. One man, for instance,
fell asleep in a nitrating shed, and when a fire occurred he was not
discovered and dragged out until he had breathed enough fume to
kill him. In another instance a plumber was sent for to install in
a picric-acid plant a fan to carry off the nitrous fumes. To do this
he had to stand on a platform above the nitration pots. As work
went on all the time the fumes were very thick. He was wchoked
up ” and had to go out of doors to get his breath. The superintend­
ent advised him to give up for the day, but he insisted on going back
and finishing. Again he was overcome by the fumes and was sent
home. He did not seem very ill and fell asleep, but during the night
he awoke with the sense of strangling, and he died in the morning
of suffocation.
In many instances it is harder to explain these fatal cases, for they
follow upon no accident, no unusually severe exposure. The physi­
cian in charge of a large guncotton factory said that he always made
a close inquiry into every serious and fatal case of fume poisoning,
and usually he would find that the man had apparently breathed
no more fumes than he had often breathed before. The most puz­
1 Ohnesorg, in U. S. Naval Medical Bulletin, October, 1916, p. 625.



zling cases in his experience were old hands, who succumbed to
what seemed to be no more excessive poisoning than they had repeat­
edly been exposed to without apparent injury.
On the other hand, another physician of considerable experience
in nitrocellulose manufacture maintains th at there can be no ques­
tion of varying degrees of susceptibility to caustic fumes any more
than to burning from fire, and that occurrences which seem to point
to such a difference between workmen simply mean that the onlookers
underestimated the degree of exposure.
Hudson’s explanation, based on long experience, is th at these
nitrous fumes are not of uniform composition. When .they contain
a larger percentage of the immediately irritatin g compounds, the
workman notices the effect at once and believes he is inhaling very
dense fumes. But the most harm ful constituents are not at once irri­
tating; they do not produce their effect till after entering the lungs
and reacting with the water of the tissues.
Of course it is hard to estimate just how dense are the fumes to
which a man has been exposed, but in some cases where a large num­
ber of men were subject to the same amount of gases there certainly
appeared to be a difference in their reaction to the poison.
We have the record of a man who died after four hours’ work on a
night shift with some sixty men in the same nitrating shed. None of
the others suffered appreciably from the fumes th a t night. I t does
not seem possible, in view of the arrangements in this shed, th at he
could have inhaled much more gas than did the men working on
each side of him.
One very hot night in the summer of 1916 the cotton in the waste
acid from the nitrators in a guncotton factory took fire and two work­
men inhaled a good deal of fume. Both were overcome and rendered
unconscious. One of them was back at work the next night and the
other was laid up for a week with bronchitis. A man in a picric-acid
plant was exposed to the fumes from a single “ boil over.” He de­
veloped a serious form of congestion and edema of the lungs, very
nearly fatal, while no other workman in the place was seriously
Czaplewski reports eight cases of men poisoned by nitrous fumes,
one of whom died on the second day, one on the ninth, five were ill
for a week, and one was back at work the day after the accident.
He says th a t some who were in the poisoned atmosphere only 20
minutes suffered as much as others who were exposed to it for two
The men who are employed by long-established and careful com­
panies are instructed to take short, shallow breaths in the presence
of these fumes so as to save as much as possible of the lung tissue



from the effects till they can escape to the open air. B ut new men
employed in plants where no instruction is given are likely to follow
their natural impulse and hold the breath as long as possible, then
take a deep gasping inspiration, and hold it again till forced to take
another. A man who does this may drive the fumes into the whole
area of the lungs. I f even a small portion of the lung tissue is left
unaffected he may recover, provided he is given oxygen until the
inflammation has had time to subside, but records were obtained of
16 cases in which the congestion and edema were fatal.
There is also a less well recognized form of nitrogen oxide fumes
poisoning which is so rapidly fatal th at only slight anatomical
changes are found after death. The poison in these cases seems to
act directly on the respiratory center. This is probably the explana­
tion for those cases of sudden death after very short exposure to
fumes when an autopsy reveals no damage to the lungs sufficient to
account for death. Five instances were reported of men who had
worked only a short time in nitration, two of them less than one
eight-hour shift, and who had been suddenly overcome and died be­
fore medical care could be given. One was a foreigner who applied for
work in a picric-acid plant where the fumes are unusually dense and
where very little attention is paid to the safety of the men. He was
taken on for the 4 o’clock shift and set to work in the nitrating shed.
A t about m idnight he was found lying unconscious in the yard. An
ambulance was sent for, but he died before the hospital could be
reached. I t has been impossible to secure a copy of the coroner’s
post-mortem report. The man was a foreigner, with no relatives
here, and the case was never followed up. Apparently he was well
when the foreman set him to work in the afternoon.
Another case was th a t of a Negro who was found dead in his
bunk the morning after he had worked in the nitrating shed of
another very bad picric-acid works. He had certainly not suffered
from dyspnoea during the night* for he slept in the same room with
many other men, in a company barracks, and they would have heard
him call for help. The physician who reported this case had not
been present at the autopsy, but the coroner described the findings
to him and consulted him as to what to put on the certificate.
There was some hypersemia of the brain, meninges, and lungs, but
not excessive anywhere. The heart was negative, the blood dark
and fluid. They agreed to call it “ heat prostration,” since they
had found no changes sufficient to cause death. A fter telling of
this case the physician went on to discuss two other obscure cases
of sudden death from the same nitrating sheds. None of the
physicians who knew of these occurrences were aware th a t nitrogen
oxide fumes were very dense in this factory, nor would they have
known what to expect from such a condition.



Some light is thrown on these cases of death without marked
anatomical lesions by the report of an autopsy performed by Dr.
G. A. Apfelbach, of the Illinois State Factory Inspection D epart­
ment, for Dr. E. E. Evans, coroner of Lake County, Ind., on the body
of an exceptionally big and muscular man, who had been a hard
drinker, and just before applying for work at the guncotton plant had
had a heavy drinking bout. He had gone on with the night shift, and
during that time the nitrous fumes were not bad enough to make
any of the other men apply for treatment at the company dis­
pensary. He had worked only four hours in the nitrating room
when he began to suffer from the fumes and went out,, saying^
“ This smoke is too much for me.” Almost at once he lost con­
sciousness and died in about 30 minutes. Dr. Apfelbach found
the larynx, trachea, and bronchi hypersemic, the lungs congested,
the alveoli containing frothy fluid. The heart was absolutely nega­
tive, as were also stomach, intestines, kidneys, and brain; but the
spleen and liver were congested, and the blood was dark and fluid.
A tubeful of blood was taken to Dr. McNally, chemist to the coroner’s
office of Cook County, and he found a small quantity of nitric oxide,
but no methsemoglobin. Death must have been caused by the action
of the poison on the lower centers, especially the respiratory center.
Nitration of cotton to make nitrocellulose, and of phenol to make
picric acid, are attended with the greatest danger from fumes of
the oxides; nitration of glycerin to make nitroglycerin, with the
least danger. Between these two extremes come the manufacture of
nitric acid and the nitration of toluol, benzol, naphthalene, anilin,
chlorbenzol, dimethylanilin.

Most explosives factories manufacture their own nitric acid, and
all recover it from waste even if they do not manufacture it to
begin with. Nitric acid is made by the action of sulphuric acid
on sodium nitrate (Chile saltpeter). The oxide fumes th at come
off are collected in water. I t is the escape of such fumes that
constitutes the great danger in a nitric-acid building, aside from
the danger of burns from contact with the acid. The symptoms
caused by inhaling these fumes have already been described.1
Leakages in pipes or in the doors of the stills may allow the escape
of nitrous fumes, but the greatest danger comes from the stop­
page of a pipe followed by bursting and the pouring out of the
acid. Some of the worst cases of lung congestion, or edema, on
our lists have followed accidents of this sort. I f it takes place
out of doors the danger is not so great. A t the time of a visit to

1 See page 14.



a guncotton plant an accident of this sort occurred. The supply
pipe from the acid tank broke, and though the fumes th at rose
formed a dense orange cloud that quite hid the tank and pipe and
spread every moment farther over the yard, the workmen,, by
keeping carefully to the windward of it, were able to drag a hose
near enough to deluge the spilled acid and make it possible for
a pipe fitter to get where he could stop the flow. Inside a build­
ing such an accident usually results in at least one serious case of

The fumes from sulphuric acid th at are to be dreaded are sulphur
dioxide, given off in large quantities at a certain stage in the produc­
tion of sulphuric acid and also at one stage in the production of
phenol. The ordinary fumes from roasting sulphur flowers or iron
pyrites consist of the trioxide, and are irritating but not dangerous,
as is the dioxide.
Lehmann and O g ata1 showed that S 0 2 has serious effects on a per­
son unaccustomed to it if it is present in even as small quantity as
3 or 4 parts to 100,000 parts of air. I t causes inflammation of the
bronchioles, bloody expectoration, congestion and inflammation of
the lungs.
Three cases of poisoning from the fumes in making sulphuric acid
were found in the records of a hospital not far from one of these
plants. The men had been sent in “ choked up ” and had then devel­
oped acute bronchitis, necessitating a stay in the hospital of five to
seven days. They all had fever, from 102 to 103° F.
One rapidly fatal case of sulphuric-acid fumes poisoning was re­
ported by a company physician, but he gave no details of the occur­
The effects of sulphur-dioxide fumes are very like those of nitrogen-oxide fumes, but far fewer men are exposed to them and rarely
is anyone exposed to very large quantities.

Mixed nitric and sulphuric acids were responsible for severe
poisoning of two men. One opened a drum of the mixed acids and
in some way breathed in enough fumes to cause pneumonia, and he
was in a hospital for three months. The other entered a tank which
had contained mixed acids and which it was his task to repair. The
tank was supposed to be quite empty and the man refused to wear a
helmet, but there was enough of the acid left at the bottom to cause
his death.
1 Quoted in Rambousek : Gewerbliche Vergiftungen.

Leipzig, 1911.




A great deal of benzol is used in the manufacture of phenol
(C6H 5H O ), a smaller amount in the manufacture of nitrobenzol
as a step in the production of anilin for explosives, and a great deal
of toluol is used in making the nitrotoluols, of which trinitrotoluol
is the most important. Benzol and toluol are treated together here,
because their effects on the body are very similar. Lehm ann1 and his
colleagues and Chassevent and G arnier2 consider toluol and xylol
more toxic than pure benzol, but Rambousek3 thinks the reverse is
true, and so do Agasse-Lafont and Heim.4
The symptoms that follow inhalation of benzol or toluol fumes or
absorption through the skin differ according to the degree of exposure
and the susceptibility of the individual, for men vary decidedly in
this regard. There are always, however, in mild as in severe cases, the
symptoms of intoxication by a substance with a specific action on the
central nervous system: Dizziness; confusion; transient excitement,
followed quickly by stupor; twitchings, then exhaustion; loss of con­
sciousness, with respirations at first rapid, then slow; pulse rapid;
temperature low. Rambotfsek says th at toluol produces narcosis
more slowly than does benzol, and there is less tendency to convul­
sions. Lehmann finds narcosis comes on more quickly under toluol
and recovery is slower.
In mild cases there is a condition like early alcoholic intoxication,
with excitement and irritability, headache, and dizziness. Later
there is a feeling of general illness, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Very little attention is paid to instances, as slight as this, and we
never had any such reported to us. All our cases of benzol poison­
ing were severe, dangerous to life, and all had come on after unusual
exposure and with great rapidity.
The characteristic post-mortem findings after benzol or toluol
poisoning are: Congestion of the abdominal organs and multiple
capillary hemorrhages into serous and mucous membranes and into
the subcutaneous tissues, probably because of the action of the poison
in dissolving the endothelial walls of the small vessels, or its action
in dissolving the body fats, allowing the lodging of fat emboli in the
small vessels and thus causing their rupture. Sometimes hemor­
rhages from the nose, lungs, uterus, and gums occur during life if the
poisoning is slower and the body may be covered with purpuric spots.
The blood in these slow cases shows a marked diminution of white
blood corpuscles, which may amount to an almost complete disap­
pearance of these corpuscles if the poisoning is very severe4
1 Archives fur Hygiene, 1911, vol. 74, p. 1.
2 Archives International de Pharmacodynamie et de Therapie, 1905, vol. 14, p. 93.
3 Concordia, 1910, p. 448.
4 Recherches sur l’Hygiene du Travail Industriel. Paris, 1912, p. 83.



In the making of explosives 14 serious cases of benzol poisoning
were reported, with 7 deaths. The first 2 were steam fitters employed
to repair the pipes inside a benzol still. The manhole through which
they had entered was just large enough to allow them to crawl
through. As usual in such work, the still had been not only emptied
but washed out and was supposed to be free from appreciable quan­
tities of benzol. One of the men suddenly became excited and irra­
tional, singing and shouting. I t was realized that he must be re­
moved from the still as quickly as possible, but this was a difficult
thing to do through the narrow opening, since he was not rational
enough to help. I t took about 10 minutes to get him out, and during
much of that time the manhole was completely closed by his body.
The second workman who had been helping lift him out was then
found to be lying unconscious on the floor of the still. Even more
difficulty was encountered in taking him out, for he was quite help­
less, and it was about 20 minutes before he was brought into the open
aid dead.1
The third and fourth cases had almost the same history. They,
too, were working inside a still which was supposed to be free from
any dangerous quantity of benzol; they began to suffer from the
effects, were dragged out in a state of coma, one was saved by vigor­
ous measures, but the other died in spite of all efforts to revive him
by the administration of oxygen and stimulants. Curiously enough,
he was the one who had been in the still the shorter time. Two more
deaths caused by repair work in a benzol still were reported, but
without details.
Another death from benzol was startiingly sudden. There was
trouble with the valve of a still and a man went up to the top of the
still to see what was wrong. There was a bad leak there and he fell
in a faint at once, and by the time two others could come to his rescue,
which was said to be only two or three minutes, he was dead. So
strong were the fumes th at both men who went to help him were
themselves overcome and one of them was unconscious for several
The sixth and seventh fatal cases were men working in the sulphonating department of a phenol plant, in a room where benzol is
sulphonated and the product run into the liming vat. Fumes of
benzol were decidedly strong in this room at the time it was in­
spected, about a month before the occurrence of these two cases.
F or the details we are indebted to Dr. H. S. M artland, pathologist
to the Newark City Hospital, who, together with Dr. George W arren,
county physician of Essex County, made the autopsies, a condensed
version of which follows: P. worked from August 7 till the 17th, the
1 Reported by Dr. T. F. Harrington, deputy commissioner Massachusetts Board of
Labor and Industries.



day of his death, in the sulphonating department of the plant. His
task was to dump sacks of slaked lime into the liming vat under the
sulphonator. There are in this room several possibilities for tlie
escape of benzol fumes: From the benzol supply pump, from the sul­
phonating kettle, and from the liming vat when the charge from the
sulphonator contains unchanged benzol, and this meets the hot liquid
in the liming vat and is volatilized. P. was found dead in this room.
Two days later M. was found in moribund condition in the same
room near the benzol pump, of which he had charge. He died the
same day. He had been employed on August 4 and had worked at
the pump up to the time of his death, on the 19th.
P .’s post-mortem record is as follows—all normal findings being
omitted for the sake of brevity:
Cyanosis of the mucous membranes and finger tips; cyanosis of
the liver, spleen, and kidneys; dilatation of the right heart with
dark blood; pleural ecchymoses and small areas of acute interstital
emphysema in the lungs.
The findings in M.’s case are similar, but more typical and pro­
nounced. Cyanosis of mouth, of lips, and of finger tips; small
amount of frothy fluid escaping from mouth; cyanosis of brain,
heart, liver, and kidneys. On section of the lungs a decided odor of
benzol was given off. Petechial hemorrhages in pleurae and peri­
cardium ; small areas of interstital emphysema in the lungs; reddened
and irritated bronchi. There was an abnormal quantity of phenol
in the urine, no benzol.

Up to the outbreak of the war all the carbolic acid used in this
country was imported, but the manufacture soon began and now
there are more than a dozen plants engaged in it, several of them
very large and important. Much of this carbolic acid is used for
the production of an explosive, picric acid.
Carbolic acid is a .well-known poison, used often with suicidal
intent, but the industrial form of poisoning differs from th at which
follows the drinking of the acid because industrial poisoning takes
place through the skin or through the lungs. In the early days of
antiseptic surgery there were many cases of poisoning resembling
industrial poisoning, for it was customary to use a carbolic-acid solu­
tion to irrigate wounds, as a dressing for wounds, as a disinfectant
for the surgeon’s hands, and even in the form of a spray to disinfect
the air while the operation was going on. Many instances are re­
corded of severe poisoning and even death caused by the washing out
of a large wound with carbolic solution or the leaving on too long of a
dressing saturated with it. Oliver describes a case of coma follow­
ing the application of a 1 in 20 solution to a large surface. There



were also cases of chronic poisoning among surgeons who were
obliged to work in an atmosphere filled with minute particles of the
carbolic solution. The symptoms of this form of poisoning are there­
fore well known.
Phenol, or its salt, sodium phenolate, is a corrosive poison, which
coagulates the albumen of the skin, but not as strongly as do the
mineral acids. Even after this corrosive effect, absorption takes place
through the skin as long as the phenol remains in contact with it,
so it is of the greatest importance to wash off the splashed surface as
quickly as possible.
The local effect of carbolic acid may be quite serious. H arrin g to n 1
has collected records of over a hundred cases of gangrene which were
caused by bandaging fingers and hands with dilute carbolic acid.
Alcohol is the recognized antidote for carbolic acid burns, and in all
plants m anufacturing this compound, alcohol is kept in a more or less
easily accessible place for this purpose.
When absorbed into the blood through the skin—and this may take
place even through unbroken skin—it causes quickening of pulse and
respirations, then slowing; depression and weakness, dizziness, roar­
ing in the ears, confusion, then collapse with cold perspiration, irregu­
lar pulse, respiratory failure, and death.2
A very serious case of this sort was reported by the Massachusetts
Board of Labor and Industry. The young man was a chemist, 22
years old, employed in a plant making trinitrotoluol and picric acid.
He had been employed there for five months. On a Sunday afternoon
he went into the toluol nitrating department and in the picric-acid
nitrating department, but as far as could be learned he was not
affected by fumes in either place. A t about 5.50 p. m., when leaving
the phenol building, he stepped into a “ sump ” of phenol waste in
the yard th at he mistook for a board, and immersed his right leg in
the solution up as high as the knee. He ran back and undressed and
washed and soaked his foot and leg in distilled water. I t was said
that while he wrung out his trousers he continually licked his fingers
to make sure th at it really was carbolic acid. Very shortly after he
began to complain of ringing in his ears, dizziness, difficulty in
breathing. The skin of the leg had turned white, but there was no
burn. He dressed the leg and left the building at 6.20 to go to the
laboratory for alcohol to put on it. As he went out, the men noticed
that he seemed dazed, confused, excited, almost hysterical. Evi­
dently he never reached the laboratory, for he was found the next
morning on the road, dead. The autopsy showed the leg from foot
1 American Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 120, p. 1.
2 Cushny: Textbook of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
1906, p. 124.


4th edition,



to knee discolored, green and black. The diagnosis of phenol poison­
ing seems unavoidable in this case.
Chronic phenol poisoning is described by K obert1 as a form of
marasmus (extreme m alnutrition). There are digestive disturbances,
complete loss of appetite or even loathing for food, headache, skin
lesions, pallor, loss of weight and increasing weakness, and a chronic
nephritis from which death finally results.

Several compounds belonging to these two groups play a more or
less important p art in the explosives industry, as, for instance, the
Nitrophenols, nitrobenzols, nitrotoluols, nitronaphthalenes, nitrochlorbenzols, amidobenzol or anilin, diamidobenzol or diphenylamin,
tetranitranilin, tetranitromethylanilin.
I t is possible to deal with the amido and nitro compounds together,
as is indeed done by most authorities, although some distinguish be­
tween nitro and amido, claiming th at the latter are chiefly charac­
terized by methaemoglobin production, the former by a solvent action
on the red corpuscles.2 R o th 3 and Rambousek4 both find methsemoglobin formed by nitrobenzol absorption, as well as by anilin.
The characteristic form of poisoning to which these compounds
give rise depends on changes in the blood and a direct action on the
central nervous system. The blood changes have been described by
many observers. Roth gives those following acute poisoning with
nitrobenzol as follows: On the first day the blood was chocolate
colored, the serum a deep yellow, but there was no methsemoglobin;
the color was caused by bile pigments. When, however, the red cells
were dissolved in water, methsemoglobin appeared. The urine was
dark, urobilin was present, but neither bile pigments nor haemoglobin.
On the second day there was no longer metheemoglobin and the choco­
late color was gone, but changes had begun in the red corpuscles,
which increased for some six days, variations in size, microcytes
and megalocytes, loss of color from loss of haemoglobin. In severer
cases, the serum may be chocolate colored also and show methaemoglobin.5
Price-Jones and Boycott, experimenting with anilin in animals,
found th a t the blood became chocolate colored and a spectroscopic
band appeared which almost, but not quite, corresponded with the
methaemoglobin band. There was an early leucocytosis of 30,000 to
1 Die Intoxikationen. Stuttgart. 1906. p. 21.
2 Curschmann : Transactions of International Congress of Industrial Hygiene.
sels, 1910.
3 Zentralblatt fur innere Medizine, 1913, vol. 34, p. 417.
4 Gewerbliche Vergiftungen. Leipsic.
5 Price-Jones and Boycott: Guy’s Hospital Reports, 1909, vol. 63, p. 309.




40,000, and a rapid and extensive destruction of reds, the haemoglobin
falling by some 50 per cent. Nucleated reds and basophilic and polychromatophilic reds showed the effort at regeneration by the bloodbuilding organs.
This destruction of blood elements is accompanied by elimination
of the blood coloring matter, which is carried on by the liver and
kidneys. When the poisoning is prolonged, degenerative changes
appear in these organs, fatty degeneration of the parenchymatous
cells, sometimes death of the cells and a consequent shrinking of the
organ. In 1906 a case of slow dinitrobenzol poisoning occurred in
England, the man dying from toxic hepatitis, and after death the
liver was found in a condition like th at of acute yellow atrophy. The
same effect has been repeatedly found in cases of trinitrotoluol poi­
soning, which have been so frequent since the war. Always such
cases develop rather slowly.
These nitro and amido aromatic compounds are not, however,
purely blood poisons. There is in addition a direct effect on the cen­
tral nervous system, and in the case of some of these compounds it is
this latter which causes the most marked symptoms and is responsible
for death. H eubner1 says th at the nitro and amido derivatives of
the benzene series cause collapse and narcosis more intensely and
more rapidly than do the alcohols, for they act more decidedly on the
lower centers, the vasomotor, respiratory, heat-regulating centers.
This effect is quite independent of the formation of methasmoglobin and can be produced in rabbits before methsemoglobin appears.
We have histories of several cases of rapidly developing poisoning
after unusually great exposure in which the nervous symptoms were
striking and death occurred from respiratory paralysis.
The symptoms of poisoning which have been described in connec­
tion with exposure to anilin, dinitrobenzol, the nitrochlorbenzols,
and trinitrotoluol, especially, more rarely in connection with picric
acid and the nitronaphthalenes, depend largely on the formation of
methsemoglobin. The replacement of haemoglobin with its easily re­
leased oxygen by methaemoglobin with its oxygen firmly bound, inter­
feres with the normal exchange of gases and results in a state of
internal suffocation, starvation for oxygen in the presence of plenty
of air. The outward signs of this lack of oxygen are seen in the
bluish tin t of lips and tongue and sometimes of the face, a color
which may appear before the man has noticed any disturbance in
health. Experimenters who have applied these compounds to the
skin have developed this cyanosis sometimes without any subjective
symptoms— (W hite and H ay.2 Hudson.3)

1 Zentralblatt fur Gewerbehygiene, 1914, vol. 2, p. 409.
2 London Lancet, 1901, vol. 2, p. 582.
8 Hudson : Personal communication.



The first disturbance the workman notices is a flushing of the face
and sense of fullness in the head, which develops into a throbbing
frontal headache. He has no appetite, indeed he may be nauseated.
Some men at this stage feel pains in the abdomen, or in the chest,
extending around to the back. I f the man does not at once seek
the open air and remain away from work till he has recovered he
grows worse, his head becomes confused, he is dizzy, feels weakness
in the legs, and is unable to walk or even stand. The flushed face
becomes blue and livid, he begins to feel air hunger, struggles for
breath, his pulse is small and rapid, his respirations at first rapid
become slow, his temperature is lowered. Unconsciousness may come
on suddenly while he is at work, but more often after he has left it,
perhaps on the way home or several hours later. In severe cases the
dyspnoea increases, the pulse becomes imperceptible, and convulsions
may precede death.
I f the patient is bled, the blood is thicker than normal and choco­
late colored. The temperature is subnormal in these acute cases at
first, but later on there may be a rise of temperature to 102° F.—
(Hudson.) This is explained as being caused by the liberation of
hsematin in the blood, just as is true in malaria, for fever may be
experimentally produced by intravenous injection of hsematin.
The urine in these cases is darker in color. B r a t1 believes that the
presence of a strongly levorotatory substance in the urine is one of
the earliest signs of poisoning from anilin. Curschmann2 found
hydrobilirubin in nitrobenzol poisoning. Mohr,3 whose cases were
poisoned by chlorbenzol and dinitrochlorbenzol, found hsematoporphyrin and hydrobilirubin, the urine being burgundy red in color.
As to the early diagnosis of poisoning from these compounds, there
are different opinions. Curschmann emphasizes the rise in blood
pressure in anilin poisoning and this, together with a loss of haemo­
globin of over 25 per cent, and a slow pulse, indicates threatened
acute poisoning. Accompanying these is a peculiar color of the skin,
slightly jaundiced and at the same time grayish. M alden4 believes
that basophilic granulation of the red cells is the earliest observable
sign of poisoning.
Hudson finds a difference in the blood changes set up by a nitro
derivative such as nitrobenzol, and those following absorption of
an amido compound such as anilin. N itro aromatic bodies cause
pronounced and characteristic changes which can be depended on
for diagnostic purposes. The leucocytosis described by the above
experimenters is not to be depended on, but it is followed by a decided
1 Deutsche medicinische Wochenschrift, 1901, nrs. 19 and 20.
2 Op. cit.
8 Deutsche medicinische Wochenschrift, 1902, vol. 28, p. 73.
4Journal of Hygiene, 1907, vol. 7, p. 673.



lymphocytosis, which is very characteristic and constant. Along
with it appear the changes in size and in staining of the red cor­
puscles that show degeneration. When, therefore, the lymphocytes
are found to be running above 30 per cent, with a corresponding fall
in the polynuclears, it is evidence that the poison is affecting the
worker even though he may have no feeling of illness. Anilin,
on the other hand, does not seem to produce a lymphocytosis, and
the changes on the reds seem to be more transient than in nitro
Curschmann says that the toxicity of these compounds increases
with the degree of nitration, except when the lower nitrated prod­
ucts are more volatile than the higher, as is the case with mononitrochlorbenzol which is more poisonous than trinitrochlorbenzol.
Dinitrobenzol is much more toxic than the mononitrite, but the latter
renders the former more dangerous, because it dissolves it and thus
makes it more easily absorbed by the skin.— (W hite and Hay.) The
more volatile bodies, such as anilin, are more rapidly and acutely
poisonous than are the nonvolatile and sparingly soluble compounds,
such as trinitrophenol (picric acid) or even trinitrotoluol.
Chronic poisoning by these bodies causes blood changes, degenera­
tion of organs, nervous derangements. The number of red cells may
increase, but there is a low color index; loss of haemoglobin; degen­
eration and imperfect regeneration of red cells; pallor and grayish
or bluish tin t in lips, tongue, and even face. There is shortness of
breath on exertion, digestive disorders, headache, muscular twitchings, disturbances of vision. Liver enlargement and tenderness may
be followed by hardness and shrinking. Ascites may follow this
Absorption takes place through the skin, the respiratory tract, and
the stomach, anfl according to most observers the channels of entry are
im portant in the above order. Hudson finds that any volatile com­
pound is far more toxic in vapor form than when given by the mouth.
A 5 or 10 grain dose of trinitrotoluol will hardly-make a rabbit seri­
ously sick, but a much smaller amount given in vapor will kill it.
British factory inspectors believe th at skin absorption is most im­
portant in dinitrobenzol and trinitrotoluol poisoning and American
anilin manufacturers hold the same view with regard to anilm.
The local effect on the skin is much more pronounced in some of
these compounds than in others. A more or less deep yellow stain­
ing of the skin is caused by handling picric acid (trinitrophenol),
the nitrotoluols, tetranitranilin, and tetryl (tetranitromethylanilin). This yellow color is so conspicuous as sometimes to confuse
the uninformed and lead to a diagnosis of jaundice. As a m atter
of fact it may sometimes mask a true jaundice, which can be de­



tected only in the sclerotic coat of the eye, if the man’s skin is dyed
yellow. There is evidence to show th at this staining of the skin
is not always merely a mechanical effect of the contact with one of
these dyes, but may be a deposit in the lower layer of the skin from
the blood stream. Prosser W h ite1 experimented on himself with
trinitrotoluol, which he applied to the skin of the arm, and a yellow
stain appeared in his^ nails, showing absorption and deposit of
the dye.2
Dermatitis of varying severity is caused by most of the members
of this group. Dinitrochlorbenzol is thought to be the worst, for
even the vapor will set up an inflammation of the skin. Tetryl is
more irritating than picric acid, and this last than anilin.
In taking up these compounds individually, we give them in the
order of their importance in this industry.

The nitration of phenol to form trinitrophenol, or picric acid, is
one of the most dangerous processes in the making of explosives
because it is very productive of nitrous fumes and much of the n itra­
tion is carried on in unprotected receptacles (see page 14). A dis­
proportionately large number of the cases of nitrogen fume poison­
ing on our lists occurred in the manufacture of picric acid. This is
the most serious danger to be apprehended, but it must not be for­
gotten that phenol is itself a poison as is also picric acid.
The commonest form of poisoning from the finished product, picric
acid, is the so-called “ itch,” a dermatitis of varying manifestations
and degrees of severity, accompanied by burning and itching. I t
is usually limited to the exposed parts of the body, but it may be­
come general, especially in summer heat and in plants where no
shower baths are provided for the men who have to pack the finished
product. The dustier this is the more trouble from skin affections,
although even when it is dried down to less than 1 per cent of mois­
ture it is still possible to do away with 4 itch ” cases, if the manage­
ment takes pains to do it. There is one admirably managed plant
in which the physician had barely half a dozen cases of itch in the
course of the previous year.
Besides this purely local form, there is a systemic picric-acid
poisoning, with symptoms of the same character as those produced
by other nitro aromatic compounds, but since picric acid is a solid
1 London Lancet, 1916, vol. 1, p. 400.
2 Recent foreign literature on malingering in the army proves that one of these com­
pounds, picric acid, is deposited in the skin when taken internally. Soldiers wishing
to obtain sick leave swallow a small dose of picric acid and have an attack of illness
very much like acute jaundice : abdominal pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and then a yellow­
ing of skin and sclera. The only distinction between this and true jaundice is the
absence of clay-colored stools.

92776°—Bull. 219— 17------ 3



and not volatile, these symptoms come on more slowly and with less
violence than those caused by the nitrobenzols. Kobert, in 1906,
knew of only three deaths from picric acid, but many cases of nonfatal poisoning, with characteristic symptoms.
Two rather unusual cases of this kind were reported by the Massa­
chusetts deputy commissioner of labor, Dr. T. F. H arrington, at
the recent meeting of the American Public H ealth Association. The
men were, as is usual in these instances of serious poisoning, en­
gaged in repair work and therefore exposed to more poison than
would be the case with ordinary workmen.
The superintendent of a plant making picric acid, a man 25 years
old, was engaged on Sunday in repairing leaky ducts in the building
in which nitration was carried on. Two days later he developed
marked muscular weakness, irregular, weak pulse, pallor with
cyanosis and slight yellowishness of the skin, palpitation of the heart,
headache, vertigo. He was absent from work three weeks. The
workman who helped him on th at Sunday, a carpenter 44 years old,
had been employed in the nitration building for three weeks. Five
days after the repair job he reported th a t he had been unable to eat
anything since th at Sunday, he had nausea, headache, vertigo, mental
confusion, cough, and difficulty in breathing on the least exertion,
loss of muscular power. H e was away from work for two weeks.
One fatal case was reported from a place wh&re picric acid was
made, but the man was supposed to have also been exposed to nitrobenzol fumes. He died in convulsions after he reached home, and
the autopsy record, which is very brief, states th at the organs were
congested with dark blood and the circulating blood was chocolate
colored. Since both picric acid and nitrobenzol are nitro deriva­
tives of the benzene group, they are both capable of causing this con­
dition of the blood, but the severe and rapid course of the poisoning
is more suggestive of nitrobenzol than of picric acid.
There is not much information to be obtained from company physi­
cians about chronic picric-acid poisoning. One of them, who is in
charge of the medical work in a large plant making picric acid and
drying it before packing, described two varieties of symptoms among
picric-acid workers, which are the same as those long fam iliar to
French physicians, for this explosive has been for many years in
use in France.1 The most usual symptoms are acute gastroenteritis,
abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, bitter taste. The less usual
symptoms are those in which the nose and throat and bronchial tubes
are affected, an irritative catarrh. He had never seen serious trouble
of either kind, but another doctor practicing in the neighborhood of a
very badly managed picric-acid plant, said he had had cases of gas­
1 Cheron, in Journal de Therapie, 1880, p. 121.

Quoted by Robert, loc. cit., p. 805.



tritis among the men quite serious enough to force them to quit
work. They lost weight and strength.

Next to the oxides of nitrogen, this substance has been responsible
for more cases of poisoning than any other in the explosives industry,
and the poisoning caused by trinitrotoluol is serious enough to give
it an im portant place quite apart from the number of its victims.
This substance was almost unknown before the war. I t had been
manufactured to a very small extent in Great Britain, but no ill
effects had been observed from handling it and it was manifestly
less poisonous than the fairly fam iliar dinitrobenzol. The British
entered on-the manufacture of triton on a large scale, with no ex­
pectation of the disastrous results that have followed. A t the pres­
ent time they are fully alive to the dangers of work in such plants
and have issued special rules to cover them, for they have found
that trinitrotoluol is poisonous “ to at least a minority of workers
coming into contact with it.” From time to time cases of fatal toxic
jaundice in triton workers have been reported by the medical jour­
nals, and, according to an article in the Lancet for December 16,
1916, no less than 50 such fatalities have occurred since the war broke
out. The record for the nine months ending September, 1916, was
95 cases of toxic jaundice, with 28 deaths.
There was almost complete ignorance of the effects of this poison
in the United States when the manufacture began on a large scale,
and it was not till serious illness had appeared among the men and
women employed in handling it that information concerning causes
and remedies began to spread. We have now a few autopsy reports
of fatal cases, and in the towns where the workmen live there are
now physicians who have made a study of the poison and are familiar
with its manifestations.
The danger of nitrous fumes is present in the manufacture of triton
but not to a great extent. N itration of toluol is carried on in closed
retorts, and the escape of fumes is not incident to the process. I f it
occurs it is the result of some accident, of a “ boil-over ” because of
too rapid nitration, or of a leak in the acid supply. The typical
danger in this work is not nitrous fumes poisoning, but the effect of
the trinitrotoluol itself. This is not usually a rapidly developing
form of poisoning, not like dinitrobenzol for instance. In excep­
tional cases there may be a sudden collapse, perhaps after only a few
hours’ work on a hot day, but in most cases the symptoms come on
gradually after an exposure of weeks or even of months.
The inhaling of TNT dust produces burning in the throat and
nose, with abundant secretion, like a severe cold in the head, and with



a sense of tightness in the chest. An obstinate cough is complained
of by many as one of the earliest symptoms. But much more dis­
tressing and more common are symptoms referable to the gastro­
intestinal tract. Indeed, some experienced foremen think that a
distaste for food is the earliest and most frequent symptom of triton
poisoning. I t may be th at p art of this distaste comes from the
bitter taste in the mouth which is experienced very soon, even by
visitors to the works. So general is the intestinal type of poisoning
that when a physician tells us he has seen only the cyanotic form in
his plant, we are forced to conclude th at he is not recognizing the
real nature of the illness among his men.
A description of mild, acute poisoning was given by a man em­
ployed in a shell-filling plant. He first noticed a bitter taste in the
mouth, and at times the bitterness was intense, like quinine, and with
it he would be somewhat nauseated. Occasionally he vomited
frothy, yellow fluid. Headache was severe at times. All these
symptoms came on soon after he began work and then gradually
passed away and when he told of them he had apparently reached a
stage of immunity.
Another man, a mixer and kettle tender in a shell-filling factory,
had slightly more serious symptoms. H is skin showed the peculiar
color that one soon comes to look for among triton workers, a mixture
of lividity and jaundice, both slight, but perceptible, the yellow in
the eyes especially, the lividity in the lips, and the skin a dirty,
grayish yellow. He said he had lost his appetite, was constipated,
felt stupid and drowsy, and had great difficulty in driving himself
to work. H is stomach was “ heavy ” and he had the train of symp­
toms which people try to describe under the term “ biliousness.”
A third man had to quit work because of ill health. He was em­
ployed on one of the machines for boring detonator holes in shells,
and the shield which was supposed to protect his machine and pre­
vent dust from escaping was broken and of no real use. A fter about
three weeks he began to have headache and an obstinate cough, with
expectoration of yellowish mucus which stained water yellow. D ur­
ing the sixth month of his employment he was in a room where TNT
is melted in great, half-open kettles, and there is a good deal of fume
rising from them. He was then quite ill, and thought th a t his suffer­
ing was due directly to the fumes from these pots, so th at whenever
he could he would step out into the open air to revive. He had pain
about the navel and in the joints, and for the first time in his life
suffered from attacks of vomiting, being nauseated most of the time.
H is joints were swollen when he finished the day’s work, but the
swelling would subside during the night. Headaches increased in
severity and he grew weak, so th at he would drag himself home in



the evening and climb the stairs with difficulty. He lost 9 pounds in
weight before he quit work.
Sometimes the first effect of the TNT is to increase appetite and
produce the appearance of improved health, but this soon passes
away. In the typical gastrointestinal form—and this includes the
majority of all cases of TNT poisoning—there is griping abdomi­
nal pain, referred to the waist line, constipation with flatulence,
bitter regurgitation, vomiting, sometimes diarrhea. Trinitrotoluol
may be recovered unchanged from the feces and it has been sug­
gested that it may exert a directly irritan t effect on the lining of
stomach and intestines, just as it does on the skin and on the respira­
tory mucosa.1
A t the same time the changes in the blood already described as
characteristic of the nitro group of poisons are taking place and the
color grows more cyanotic. This cyanosis is not usually so marked
as in nitrobenzol and anilin poisoning, though attacks of blueness
with dizziness, staggering, and loss of consciousness may occur from
TNT poisoning as well as from the two former. Even prolonged
coma, or delirium and convulsions have been reported in cases of
severe and rapid poisoning.
Involvement of the bladder is noted quite often by some physicians,
but they find it yielding readily to ordinary treatment. Nosebleed
is also not uncommon. In people with damaged lungs there is
likely to be pulmonary hemorrhage. Two instances of this came to
notice. One was a girl of 20 years, whose father and brother had
recently died of tuberculosis after long illness. She had paraffined
ond scraped TNT charges for several months and had suffered from
cystitis. She had several hemorrhages from the lungs and a profuse
one was the immediate cause of her death, but the effect of the triton
was shown by the thick, brown, chocolate-colored blood.
A similar case in a man was also reported. He acquired TNT
poisoning in a shell-filling plant, but in his case also the immediate
cause of death was a hemorrhage from the lungs.
The most serious form of triton poisoning is that which the British
call toxic jaundice and under that name it is listed in their factoryinspection reports. The history of a woman employed in an Ameri­
can shell plant illustrates this condition. She was seen after she had
been ill for six weeks and was well on the way to recovery. A t that
time her skin was yellowish and flabby, and the whites of her eyes
were yellow. She was a heavy woman, something past 30 years, and
had good health before going to work in this factory. H er abdomen
was prominent, her ankles very dropsical, the edema extending
almost up to the knees. She had been very weak but could sit up at

1 London Lancet, Dec. 16, 1916.



th at time and even walk about a little. H er history was as follows,
given by herself:
She began to work the 1st of February, 1916, weighing charges
of triton for shells. The stuff was floury and it was rather dusty
work, but she always wore a respirator. About 8 to 10 girls did
this sort of work. Some of them suffered from an eruption like that
from poison ivy over arms and hands, but none of them became ill.
Then she was set to paring off with scissors the charges which had
been too heavy. This work also was dusty. A fter about five weeks
in all she began to feel ill, her appetite was completely gone, and
everything she ate had a disagreeable taste. She lost strength,
would lie down all the time she was in the house, and had to force
herself to go to work in the morning. H er hands had been dyed
yellow by the powder, but now the skin all over her body turned
yellow. Then very obstinate nausea and vomiting came on. She
kept at work for three weeks after she first felt ill, but was obliged
to give up because of the vomiting. For four weeks she retained
hardly any food at all. She became dropsical and had an irritating
rash all over her body, but she was never cyanosed. H er urine
showed albumen and casts.
The fatal cases of toxic jaundice of which we have records had
histories very like this one. In connection with 7 of the 13 deaths
from triton poisoning we were told th at the illness had lasted for
several weeks. A t the outset it was no more serious than the usual
cases, but it took a rather sudden tu rn for the worse and then
symptoms of jaundice and severe liver involvement came on rapidly.
The clinical diagnosis is really one of acute yellow atrophy of the
liver and the pathology is the same. The liver plays an important
p art in the elimination of the poison and in those cases where death
does not come on with great suddenness, there is time for destructive
changes in liver and kidneys, the latter showing also fatty degener­
ation of epithelial cells.
These are some of the histories secured of fatal cases. A girl of
19 years had been for some months dipping TN T charges for shells
in liquid paraffin, and was then transferred to the office for two
weeks. H er illness developed after she had left the triton depart­
ment. A t first she had only the usual symptoms, such as nausea
and constipation, no jaundice. She even grew better. Then, 10
days after her last visit to the company physician, he was sent for
and found her comatose, with pronounced general jaundice and ab­
solute suppression of urine. She' had vomited persistently. She
died the next day, after 12 hours of profound coma. The physician
said he had reason to believe that she had had some kidney derange­
ment before going to work in the plant.



Two fatal cases in men also presented a picture of toxic jaundice,
and the condition was diagnosed as yellow atrophy of the liver.
There was intense generalized jaundice and tiny capillary hemor­
rhages thickly distributed over chest and abdomen just beneath the
skin. The liver had perceptibly diminished in size. The symptoms
preceding death were apparently identical in all respects with acute
yellow atrophy of the liver, beginning with general malaise, then
marked gastrointestinal disturbance, griping pains across the ab­
domen, increasing jaundice, fever, delirium, coma, and death.
Two deaths from TNT poisoning contracted in a shell works
occurred in the spring and summer of 1916, and the autopsies were
performed by Dr. H. S. M artland, pathologist to the Newark City
Hospital, who reported them as follows:1
Case 1 was a white man of 24 years, who had always been in good
health. In April, 1916, he began to work for a shell-filling plant,
and used to dump TNT powder into steam kettles, stirring it as it
melted and then filling shells with the molten material. A fter
seven weeks of this work he went to the factory physician because of
nausea, vomiting, slight abdominal pain, and weakness. He was
already jaundiced and there was tenderness in the epigastrium. He
left the plant, but grew steadily worse and in two weeks was sent
to a hospital, deeply jaundiced, vomiting persistently, prostrated,
and slightly delirious. He died in coma five days after admission.
Three days later, after embalming, the body was examined. The
anatomic changes which could be detected in spite of the action of
the embalming fluid consisted in a toxic hepatitis with extensive
destruction of the liver parenchyma; toxic degenerative tubular
nephritis; icterus; cloudy swelling of the heart muscle; increased
blood destruction in the spleen, and secondary anemia showing con­
siderable polychromatophilia. A striking feature was the intense
jaundice. The skin all over the body was a deep chrome yellow and
all the viscera were bile stained.
Microscopically there was cloudy swelling of the liver cells with
extreme fatty degeneration, followed by necrosis and autolysis of
the liver cells leading to extensive destruction of the liver paren­
chyma, so that only a few areas of unchanged liver cells were seen,
usually around a portal space. Lymphatic infiltration was seen
around the periphery of the lobules; there was deposit of greenish,
granular pigment; capillary hemorrhages; extensive regeneration
and proliferation of the bile ducts.
Case 2 was of a quite different type. He was a man of 50 years,
who had always been in fair health and who was employed for
several months in this same plant. For the last two months before
1 Journal of American Medical Association, 1917, vol. 68, p. 835.
densed, only the essential details being given here.

The article is con­



his death his work consisted mainly in sweeping the floor of the
room in which the detonator holes are bored in the TNT shells, and
where, in spite of shields to prevent the dust from spreading, there
is always a good deal of dust on the floor. A fter a few weeks he
complained to the factory doctor of nosebleed, but apparently he
was allowed to go on working. Later he went to the doctor because
of epigastric pain, weakness in the legs, violent headache, and occa­
sional coughing and vomiting of blood. Still the physician did not
advise him to quit work and he did so of his own accord because of
extreme weakness.
His family physician then found him suffering from frontal head­
ache, loss of appetite, weakness of lower limbs, and bleeding from
gums. His temperature was 102; pulse 90, weak but regular. On
the third day he became delirious, and this continued for four days.
I t was a low, muttering delirium and gradually passed into coma,
in which he died. There was extensive destruction of red corpuscles,
which before death fell to less than a million, with a haemoglobin of
30 per cent. The urine showed a trace of albumin, with hyalin and
granular casts.
This autopsy was performed shortly after death, on the unem­
balmed body. The anatomic diagnosis was acute aplastic anemia,
with hemorrhages from mucous membranes of nose, gums, and intes­
tines; hemorrhages from serous surfaces, parietal and visceral peri­
cardium, endocardium, and arachnoid; low-grade parenchymatous
degeneration of heart muscle, liver, and kidneys; and increased iron
pigment in spleen and liver. Blood smears showed a reduction in
both red and white cells, with practically no evidence of effort at
regeneration of these elements, such as nucleated reds, polychromatophilia, etc. There was no jaundice in this ease and no evidence of
toxic hepatitis, except the slight changes in the liver cells noted
above. The bone marrow showed a replacement of erythropoietic
tissue by fatty tissue.1
Another instance of fatal toxic jaundice was briefly reported as
follows: The kidneys were badly damaged, pale, with indistinct
markings. The spleen was smooth, heart normal. The liver was
atrophic and a stained section showed complete destruction of the
cells surrounding the central lobular veins and a damaged condition
of the peripheral cells.
Less typical and less usual is death from the immediate effects of
larger doses of TNT, when the symptoms are those already described
as characteristic of poisoning by the nitro derivatives of the benzene
1 The findings in this case are singularly like those described by Selling in the wellknown cases of poisoning by benzene (benzol) which he reported and which, because
of the marked diminution of white blood corpuscles, afforded the suggestion for the
benaene treatment of leukemia. Selling’s cases also had hemorrhages from mucous and
serous membranes.



series. Several cases illustrative of this class were described by Dr.
T. F. H arrington, deputy commissioner of labor, Massachusetts.
The first was a man who was employed in the nitration department
of a TNT plant for one month. One day on his way home, about
half a mile from the plant, he was suddenly overcome and fainted.
He was unconscious for nearly two days, deeply cyanosed, and he
had several convulsions. He made a very slow convalescence, suf­
fering from dyspnoea, cough, a rapid pulse, dizziness, and mental
The second was a man 42 years old, employed as a carpenter in a
building where toluol is nitrated. He was made dizzy by fumes
from a duct under which he was working and went outside, where
he revived in a little while and was able to go back to work, but
the dizziness returned almost at once and he was obliged to quit and
go home. The next day he came back, but as soon as he reached the
place where he had been at work he was overcome with dizziness
and nausea, vomited, and had to be helped out of the building. He
drove 2 miles in the open air to his home. The next day he felt
chilly and suddenly grew very ill, had convulsions, and about mid­
night died. The autopsy showed “ red cell destruction and secondary
oxygen starvation, especially of brain and nervous system; general
congestion of the organs.”
A third case was very similar. The man was employed in the
nitrating department, and on the second day he was sent to clean out
the dinitrating tank. He felt the fumes very much and had to go
outside often for relief. He worked from 10 in the morning till 2.30
in the afternoon, then he left and walked about a mile to the electric
car and rode 5 miles to his home. Early in the evening he was
seized with dizziness, spasms of the muscles; he lost consciousness
and died at about 2 in the morning. The coroner’s verdict was
“ Death from edema of the lungs, due to gas poisoning.”
Triton has, in common with many compounds of this group, an irri­
tating effect on the skin, caused more by dust than by fumes. This is
at times very distressing, enough so to force the man to give up his
work, for the itching is intense and prevents sleep and makes the
sufferer nervous and incapable of work. Some people are extremely
susceptible to this rash, others never suffer from it at all. Women
seem to be less susceptible than men, but this may be simply because
they dislike a disfiguring eruption more than men do, and will take
more pains to prevent it. We heard of several instances of over­
susceptibility to triton rash. Guards on the grounds who hardly
ever enter a building may get it. Men may carry enough of the
powder home on their clothes to give rash to members of the family.
The wife and baby of a superintendent of a triton works had a



typical rash, so did a child who played in the home of a workman,
and a woman who washed workmen’s overalls.
Prosser W hite1 describes the rash as beginning with a mottled
erythema, usually first in between the fingers and spreading to the
forearms, hands, and wrists. The backs of the hands may be swollen
and hard, and the skin crack in large scales. At first there are-tiny
red points surrounded by an erythematous area, then vesicles form
with opaque fluid, which look like grains of sago under the skin.
Sometimes the condition resembles an erysipelas and the eyelids are
swollen shut. The swelling and itching are often worse at night.
Scaling follows, the skin of the palms coming off in large strips,
while that of the arms and wrists come in flakes. There may be a
similar eruption on the feet, the powder working its way in through
the front of the boot and the sock. I f the eruption is on a part of
the body th at is chafed by clothing and kept moist by perspiration,
ulceration may result. Physicians say also th at triton workers are
very liable to festering sores; that slight injuries, instead of healing,
inflame and suppurate.
Superintendents and foremen usually believe th at men acquire
immunity to triton, but a very observant physician who had had
almost a year’s experience in a large plant said very emphatically
that although he had at first believed this to be true, he had been
forced to the contrary opinion.
In order to detect the earliest stage of this form of poisoning, some
doctors look for a bluish color in the lips and lobes of the ears; others
for yellowing of the whites of the eyes; others for loss of appetite
and a bitter taste. Hudson depends on blood examinations made at
frequent intervals, looking for the changes described in the section
on nitro and amido compounds, the lymphocytosis, and changes in
the red corpuscles. This method enables him to put a man at other
work during the early stage of his poisoning, long before he would
think of going to the doctor with a complaint of sickness. The B rit­
ish authorities lay stress on the importance of such early symptoms
as a persistent cough due to no known cause, unaccustomed shortness
of breath, fatigue not explained by exertion, and pains coming on
suddenly in the feet and legs.
In all well-managed factories the physician is permitted to order
the transfer of men with suspicious symptoms and have them sent
to other work. They may still be given employment in the works,
provided it does not involve exposure to triton dust or fumes. One
company has started vegetable gardens on the land near the works,
and the physician sends men sick enough to need watching to work
in these gardens, where they will be under supervision and he can
be sure they are healthfully occupied. Such a change of work for

1 London Lancet, 1916, p. 400.



suspicious cases is specially insisted upon by the British authorities,
and the disastrous results of ignoring warning signs of poisoning are
easily seen in some of the American cases, notably those reported by
Dr. Martland.
Some physicians in this country hold that the respiratory tract is
the most im portant channel of entry for trinitrotoluol. This is,
however, not the usual view. Most men who have observed industrial
poisoning from this compound believe th at the skin is much more
important, and that, even when a dusty atmosphere is the cause of
the poisoning, it is the dust which falls on the skin rather than the
dust which is inhaled and swallowed that is responsible for the
trouble. British investigators seem to have proved th at this latter
theory is true. By examining the urine of TNT workers daily for
seven weeks, they came to the conclusion th at more TN T was ab­
sorbed and could be demonstrated in the urine when it had entered
through the skin than when the digestive tract was the channel of
•entry. This is one reason why hot weather so greatly increases the
incidence of poisoning.
The combined effect of heat, humidity, and fatigue is shown in the
record of one triton plant during 1916. The number of cases of
poisoning for June, a cool month, was 23. D uring this month a rush
contract was made, and the men began to work overtime, their hours
before this having been only eight. This was kept up during the
intense heat and humidity of July and August, and in those months
the number of cases rose to 55 for July and to 69 for August. In
September, after the weather improved and work began to slacken,
the cases of poisoning fell to 36.
Of course, all the triton poisoning in this country must have de­
veloped fairly rapidly, because this is a new industry and most of
the plants have been running less than two years, while the appoint­
ing of a physician to look for cases of poisoning belongs to an even
more recent date. As a m atter of fact, all those whose histories
were given with a fair degree of fullness had developed poisoning
after a short exposure. F ifty cases from the records of one physi­
cian had all worked less than eight months. According to the British
statistics, at least 83 per cent of their cases of jaundice occurred
between the fifth and sixteenth week of work. “ In 105 reports on
toxic jaundice not one had been employed for a period less than four
weeks. Only two fatal cases have been reported where duration of
employment had been more than four months, although thousands of
workers have worked a much longer time.” 1
Only one of the nine TNT factories employs women in work
which involves exposure to this compound, and in this one the num­
ber of women is small, so that it is impossible to draw any conclu­

1 Loudon Lancet, Dee. 16, 1916.



sions as to sex susceptibility from the facts collected. The British
statistics show that incidence and fatality are little affected by sex.
On the other hand> they find th at youth does affect the seriousness
of the poisoning. The percentage of deaths from toxic jaundice,
recognized and notified as such, is 33 for all cases, but for those
under 18 years of age the proportion is 8 deaths to 11 cases. In d i­
vidual susceptibility plays a large part in this form of poisoning.
u I t would almost seem as though workers could be divided into two
classes—the one (and much the larger) insusceptible and remaining
so, no m atter how much exposed; the other susceptible and liable to
succumb, especially between the fifth and fifteenth week.”
There are two advantages in American plants, as compared with
the British. One is the absence of immature workers. Throughout
all the plants visited in the course of this inquiry only two lads were
seen working with TNT, and only about 40 women, the m ajority of
whom were over 18 years of age. The other advantage is due to
a difference in methods of handling TNT. In British medical arti­
cles dealing with TN T poisoning, processes are spoken of which are
not used in American factories. There seems to be a great deal of
hand sifting of TNT powder by girls, and this is excessively dusty
work. I t was never seen in our factories.
The one American company that manufactured triton before the
war has proved th at it is entirely possible to carry on the nitration
of toluol without serious harm to the workmen, by the use of pre­
ventive measures, by controlling dust and fumes, and by strict super­
vision of the physical condition of the men. D uring more than six
years this company has had no serious case of toxic jaundice and not
one death.
In a recent article two British physicians1 describe the forms of
TNT poisoning as they have seen them in a large munition works
where, apparently, many women are employed. They distinguish
two large classes of cases, with subclasses under each. The first is
the irritative, and under it come (a) respiratory cases, (&) gastric,
and (c) skin cases. I f persons with the irritative type of symptoms
persist in work exposing them to the poison, toxaemia may appear.
The second class is the toxic, divided into (a) digestive, with con­
tinuous “ bilious attacks,” nausea, vomiting, anorexia, constipation,
jaundice; (&) circulatory, with faintness, giddiness, hot and cold
flushes, pallor, slight cyanosis, palpitation, slow pulse, air hunger,
swelling of hands and feet; (c) cerebral, with drowsiness, depression,
apathy, transient loss of memory, blurred vision; in severe cases,
delirium, convulsions, and coma; (d) special, including cases of
irregular, scanty menstruation, dark and scanty urine.
1 Agnes Livingstone-Learmouth and Barbara Cunningham, in London Lancet, Aug. 12,
1916, p. 261.



The toxic cases are usually slow, but may be fulminating. There
seems to be no relation between the severity of the symptoms and
the issue of the case, for a serious case may clear up, while one that
begins with mild symptoms may develop into a dangerous one or
even end in death.

According to H unt and Jo n es1 naphthalene causes symptoms
not characteristic of the phenol series to which it belongs. In
mild cases there is headache, malaise, vomiting; in severer, pains in
the bladder, and urethra and kidneys. The urine is dark and con­
tains alpha-naphthol and beta-naphthol. Death has been known to
occur from nephritis. There is a specific effect on the eye, shown by
degenerative changes in retina and subretinal hemorrhages, or in
cataract formation.
Nitronaphthalenes are less dangerous poisons than are the nitro
derivatives of benzol and toluol.2 We found the nitration of naph­
thalene being carried on in one plant, where the work was supervised
and largely performed by the chemist. The work was largely ex­
perimental at the time, and the resulting product was a mixture of
mono and dinitro compounds. When only one nitration was done
in the 24 hours,, the chemist did not feel the effects of the fumes, but
during the hot summer weather he was nitrating twice in the day
and after an exposure of 10 or 12 hours to the vapors he would be
nauseated, weak, suffering from headache and general exhaustion
and malaise. A workman who was employed in the so-called drying
house, where he had to fill cans with the finished product, had to quit
because he would be overcome by the fumes, and so dizzy and con­
fused that he would go round and round in circles, not knowing what
he was doing.
One workman in a dynamite plant, who had formerly handled
“ dope ” containing other nitro aromatic compounds, said th at he
had often had attacks of blueness and faintness, but after nitronaphthalene.was substituted he had had no trouble of that kind.

The explosive nitrobenzol, well known in both Germany and Great
Britain, is not manufactured in the United States except as a
step in the production of anilin. Nitrobenzol, or oil of mirbane,
is a dangerous poison, very volatile, easily absorbed through the
skin, attacking the central nervous system and producing profound
changes in the blood. These changes have been discussed above under
the section on “ Nitro and amido derivatives of the benzene series.”
1 Reid Hunt and Walter Jones. Peterson and Haines: Textbook of Toxicology, vol. 2,
p. 587.
2 White and Hay, in London Lancet, 1901, vol. 2, p. 582.



The action of nitrobenzol is very similar to that of anilin, but
more rapid and intense. There are more deaths in proportion to
cases of poisoning from nitrobenzol than of anilin, and while an
ordinary case of anilin poisoning usually recovers and is back at
work in a couple of days, a nitrobenzol case will have to be under
medical care for four or five days or longer.

These are well-known substances in Germany, where they have
long been in use in the making of anilin dyes. There are many re­
ports from that country of severe poisoning among men exposed to
them, and the symptoms produced are those which were described
in the section on “ Nitro and amido derivatives of the benzene series.”
We found them in one plant only, as by-products. Here they
have been known to set up troublesome eczema, severer than that
produced by picric acid or tetryl, but we heard of no constitutional
symptoms which were attributed to these compounds.

This is made from nitrobenzol, and is used in fairly large quanti­
ties for the manufacture of diphenylamin, for the explosive tetryl
(tetranitrom ethylanilin), and for the rarer explosive tetranitranilin,
or TNA.
Anilin is poisonous in very small quantities, whether inhaled or
spilled on the skin, and as it has a pleasant odor and is not at all
irritating, it does not give warning of its dangerous nature. The
symptoms have been described in the section on “Nitro and amido
derivatives of the benzene series.” I t is rare to see really serious
forms of anilin poisoning in the manufacture of explosives, and
there is not one death from anilin poisoning on our list.
Mild cases are very common and are disagreeable enough to make
the men dislike to work with anilin. One man who had been em­
ployed for 13 months in a large plant making anilin said th at he was
the oldest employee in length of service left in th at department.
About 200 men were needed for the work, but they quit so often
that more than 4,000 had to be hired during the year. He him­
self had been “ knocked out ” at least 20 times, and said th at his wife
always told him when an attack was coming on because she would
notice his bluish color. In his case, a throbbing headache was the
first symptom, then dizziness. He would stagger out to the open air,
but could not stand up, because his legs would not hold him. He
never really lost consciousness, though he would be “ queer” for a
while. He thought it was beginning to affect his digestion and to
make him ill-tempered and nervous.



Foremen in charge o f anilin workers say that the men are more
irritable, “ grouchy,” and lazier than men in other kinds o f work.
It is not safe to push them, because they will only get angry and quit,
and they really are not up to a normal day’s work.
In a large plant making anilin, an excellent one, where the odor
o f anilin was barely perceptible at the time the visit was made, the
foreman and workmen said that on hot and heavy summer days as
many as 6 or 7 men o f the 200 employed would have to be sent to the
first-aid room for treatment. These men could usually come back to
work the following day.
We know little about chronic anilin poisoning in this country,
since the substance is new in our industry and there has not been
much time for such a condition to arise, especially as the men em­
ployed in it are a shifting class o f workmen. What we should expect
from the experience of other countries is a profound anemia, with all
the multiform disturbances which result from it, digestive, nutri­
tional, nervous. There is also among German anilin workers an
undue number o f cases of tumor of the bladder.

This is made in one of the factories visited and is used in smoke­
less powder works. It is dissolved in the ether-alcohol for smokeless
powder and incorporated with the nitroglycerin powders. As it is a
volatile poison of the amido group of benzene derivatives, very closely
allied to anilin, it may be expected to produce the same symptoms
as the latter. W e were unable to obtain any evidence o f diphenylamin poisoning from physicians connected with smokeless powder
works, but two o f them stated that the symptoms experienced by
men employed in pressing and cutting powder must be regarded as
due to a mixed poison, since the vapors they inhale contain ether,
alcohol and diphenylamin.

Dimethylanilin is made in two factories which were visited, in
neither o f which had there been any ascertainable poisoning. The
making of this compound by the action of anilin on methyl alcohol
and its subsequent conversion to tetranitromethylanilin is attended
with decided risk since all these substances are volatile poisons, but
the processes are carried on in closed receptacles and actually no
trouble seems, to have occurred.

Tetranitranilin or T N A is little used in this country. It was found
in one factory, where girls were handling it. It is a greenish yellow,



fluffy powder and the girls showed the effect of the dye on their
hair and parts of their skin. They wore gloves and some wore caps
to protect the hair.

Two plants manufacture this explosive. The most usual effect
among those who handle it in American factories seems, so far, to be
an irritating and obstinate trade dermatitis. In one plant where
tetryl and dry picric acid and the nitrochlorbenzols are all handled
the physician finds that the last named are the most productive of
skin inflammations, next tetryl, and last picric acid.
The British use large quantities o f this detonator, and Dr. Enid
Smith has recently published a report on tetryl dermatitis in a fac­
tory employing 250 women working with this substance. Almost all
have at least a mild dermatitis, if it is no more than a roughening
and itching o f the skin o f the hands. Severe cases may have edema
o f the. whole face, the eyes swollen shut. There is also some con­
junctivitis in milder cases and irritation of the nasal mucous mem­
brane. Dr. Smith finds constitutional symptoms so slight as to be
negligible. The report o f the Health of Munition Workers Committee
speaks of such symptoms as headache, drowsiness, loss o f appetite.
It is also said that tetryl dermatitis has a different distribution from
that which follows triton poisoning. Tetryl dermatitis appears on
the chin, around the nostrils, and on the eyelids, while triton lesions
are most pronounced on hands and arms. An American physician
who has had much experience with tetryl workers in this country
does not confirm this statement.
Another physician, with women tetryl workers under his charge,
describes the skin eruption from this substance as less irritating than
that from TNT, and clearing up quickly. He finds, however, other
disagreeable effects o f the tetryl in a watery discharge from the
nose, sneezing, and nosebleed. This same physician mentions a
symptom of tetryl poisoning which is not touched on in the British
literature, namely, a cessation o f menstruation o f one to three
months’ duration.

Before the outbreak of the war nitroglycerin was manufactured
in large quantities for peaceful uses, and though its production has
increased o f late it is not a new explosive in this country in the
sense in which the others are. There are several companies that
have long been manufacturing it and the physicians connected with
them are quite familiar with the effects o f nitroglycerin absorption.
There is less danger o f nitrogen oxide fume poisoning in the nitra­
tion of glycerin than in any other nitration process in this industry
o f making explosives. The extreme danger o f explosions leads to



care in mixing the acid and glycerin and any sign o f over-rapid
nitration with the formation of nitrous fumes is at once checked,
because it might also result in explosion. This same risk of ex­
plosion brings about a division of the work into small units with
only two to four men employed in each building, always an ad­
vantage when there are processes involving poisonous substances.
Nitroglycerin is itself a poison which is absorbed through the lungs
and through the unbroken skin. It has a decidedly depressing effect
on the vascular system, dilating all the peripheral vessels with a con­
sequent lowering o f the blood pressure. Strangely enough there
seems to be little o f this effect observed in men who daily handle it
and doubtless absorb appreciable quantities. They seem to become
rapidly accustomed to it, and provided they do not leave the work
they soon reach the point where they can absorb daily an amount
from 20 to 30 times the medicinal dose, yet without any apparent
effect on the heart or circulation. However, this immunity continues
only while they are at work, and even then very hot weather or ex­
posure to an unusual quantity of the nitroglycerin may bring on
symptoms. One physician in charge of such workmen said he had
seen an attack o f heart failure follow when a man suddenly quit
the work and the loss of dilator effect of the drug made itself felt.
Laws in 1910,1 Ebright in 1914,2 and Hudson in 1917,3 published
articles on nitroglycerin workers in which they describe the effects
o f the drug on new men, but they were unable to find any evidence
o f chronic poisoning in old “ powder men.” According to Hunt
and Jones,4 the chronic effects of nitroglycerin poisoning are seen in
ulcers and eruptions o f the skin. Rambousek5 has seen ulcers and
inflammation o f the roots o f the nails in men who mix and sift dyna­
mite. Oliver'6 believes the effects are transitory and leave no per­
manent traces, no impairment o f health.
New men suffer from nitroglycerin headache, which they describe
as a peculiarly intense, throbbing pain, beginning in the forehead
and spreading all over the head. Stooping, or even lying down,
makes it intolerable, and there is a great deal of restlessness and in­
somnia, sometimes nausea and vomiting and more rarely diarrhea.
Nothing relieves it but quiet and fresh air, and it lasts from one to
four days. There is frequent urination, and the urine is increased
in quantity and of low specific gravity. Ebright examined a man
who was suffering from a typical a powder headache,” but found no
relaxation o f the radial artery.
1 Journal of American Medical Association, 1910, vol. 1, p. 793.
2 Idem, 1914, vol. 62, p. 201.
3 Medical Record, 1917, vol. 91, p. 89.
4Peterson and Haines : Textbook of Toxicology, p. 604.
5 Gewerbliche Vergiftungen. Leipzig, 1911.
6 Diseases of Occupation. London, 1916, p. 135.
9 2 7 7 6 ° — B u ll. 2 1 9 — 17------- 4



After a while the tendency to these headaches disappears, and the
man is immune as long as he continues at that sort of w ork; but if
he leaves it for work in another part o f the plant he must avoid
the nitroglycerin houses, for even a few minutes’ stay in one of
them may be enough to bring on the headache. According to Ebright^
some powder men put a bit o f dynamite in their hatbands if there
is a holiday, so that they will remain under the influence and not
have to acquire immunity again. Shaking hands with a nitro­
glycerin worker may bring on a headache in a man who formerly
suffered from them.
No evidence was found in the course of this investigation that
powder men have any permanent impairment of their health. This
is partly explained by the fact that they are a selected group of men,
chosen for their sobriety and reliability; they work short hours and
there is usually no great physical strain; and then in addition there
is more or less selection as a result of the oversusceptible dropping
out and seeking other work.

To make fulminate o f mercury, metallic mercury is treated with
nitric acid and the nitrate formed. Later in the process the washings
from the fulminate are collected and distilled to recover the mercury.
In both these processes there is a possibility of mercurial poisoning,
and one such case was reported, a man who cleaned out this u sludge ”
and distilled it.
Mercurial poisoning is characterized by inflammation of the gums,
with swelling and bleeding, a foul breath and copious flow of saliva,
the “ salivation ” which was so familiar a condition in the days
before the discovery of quinine when mercury was the approved
remedy for malaria. In severe cases the teeth drop out. A t the
same time there are certain characteristic nervous symptoms, espe­
cially the so-called mercurial tremor, a fine tremor in the muscles of
fingers and tongue and lips. Nervous irritability, gastric disturb­
ances, and more or less profound anemia follow, and in long pro­
tracted cases there is nephritis and paralysis.

The manufacture of fulminate of mercury employs about 40 men
in one plant and about 5 in another, the latter making fulminate only
now and then as it is needed, the former continuously. The handling
of this explosive, mixing it with other substances, making and press­
ing charges, loading caps and inspecting caps, etc., employs in the
two munition works studied about 600 men and 1,100 women.
Mercury fulminate is not itself a dangerous poison. It produces
in some people a painful and disfiguring eruption of the skin, but
we were unable to learn of more serious troubles, except an in­



flammation starting in the eyelids and going on to the involvement
of the coverings o f the eye. A decided difference is evident in the
susceptibility o f individuals to this affection, perhaps due to differ­
ence in the amount or in the character o f the perspiration, for it
can not be explained on the ground of lack o f personal cleanliness
in all cases.
Severe fulminate dermatitis is usually like moist eczema—the skin
reddened, swollen, and tense, later exuding serum, then scaling or
forming a scab. Bad cases may have a good deal o f swelling of
face and eyelids and fingers. Instances are spoken o f in the litera­
ture in which the whole body was involved; but on our records there
is only one case that was very extensive, involving face, neck, eyelids,
hands, and arms. O f course the most usual place for the rash is
on hands and forearms, but if the worker touches his face or neck or
eyes, as he is very likely to do in warm weather, the powder on his
fingers will cause a rash to appear there also. Out o f 61 cases of
fulminate dermatitis, of which we have the histories, 3 involved
hands only; 5, the face only; 3, the eyelids; 33, forearms and hands;
and 16, the face and arms, with sometimes neck and hands as well.
A much larger proportion o f men than women suffer from this
eruption, probably because they do not take so much pains to avoid it.
In one plant employing both men and women there were 32 cases
among 1,070 women, and 36 among 505 men.
Although we heard of no typical mercurial poisoning in connection
with the handling o f mercury fulminate, evidence from foreign lit­
erature goes to show that this salt of mercury is capable o f produc­
ing such symptoms. In the British Health of Munition Workers
Committee report on industrial poisoning it is said that mercurialism
is seldom marked, but there may be a blue line on the gums, impair­
ment of appetite, headache, nervousness, depression. Oppenheim1 in
1915 reviewed the literature of mercurialism among workers in ful­
minate, and gave a number of instances which apparently have oc­
curred in Austria since the outbreak of the present war. Among 13
persons with fulminate dermatitis, 8 had “ stomatitis mercurialis,”
swelling of the gums, bleeding from the gums, salivation. His
earlier cases were more severe and typical, probably because the ex­
posure to the fulminate had lasted longer. Thus a man who died
of mercurialism in Prague in 1850 had filled percussion caps for 11
years. A woman reported by Teleky2 in 1908 had done such work
for 5 years.
It is well to bear in mind the possibility of mercurialism in fulmi­
nate workers, so that early symptoms may be recognized and the
worker shifted to another occupation.
1 Weiner klinische Wochenschrift, 1915, vol. 28, p. 1273.
* Quoted by Oppenheim.




This is a depressant drug, formerly much used in febrile condi­
tions to lower the blood pressure. It is one of the constituents
of the fumes that are given off in large quantities in the making
o f mercury fulminate by the action of ethyl alcohol on mercuric
nitrate. No serious cases o f trouble from these fumes were reported,
although on the day we visited the plant we were told that work had
had to be almost entirely suspended in that department because it
was excessively hot, humid weather and the fumes lay low in the
building and made the men dizzy. The headache and lassitude and
feeling o f weakness that accompany this dizziness pass off quickly
once the men are in the fresh air.

This is an irritating and corrosive gas, capable of setting up
severe inflammation when inhaled. Here, too, there is the late de­
velopment o f the serious symptoms, and death is due to edema of the
lungs as in nitrous fumes poisoning.
In making dynamite ammonium nitrate is added to the dope and
it is also a constituent of certain high explosive shells. The manu­
facture o f ammonium nitrate from aqua ammonia and nitric acid in­
volves some risk o f poisoning, through an accident to the supply.
One such case was reported, a man who either spilled ammonia or
tried to stop a leak and breathed so much of the gas that he had a
serious attack o f congestion o f the lungs.
The fact that ammonia is irritating to the lungs makes it danger­
ous to use strong ammonia vapors as an antidote for nitrous fumes
poisoning, as has sometimes been done. The trouble would only be
a m m o n iu m : n i t r a t e .

Handling ammonium nitrate in making dynamite or other mixed
explosives is probably quite devoid of danger. The compound is
poisonous only in large doses. It is very similar to potassium nitrate,
which is often administered as a medicine in 30-grain doses over
long periods o f time, only the ammonium salt is somewhat less
depressant to the heart than the potassium salt. One physician
practicing near a plant in which a mixed charge for shells is made,
consisting o f crude trinitrotoluol and ammonium nitrate, attributed
the cyanosis, faintness, headache, dark-colored urine, and cystitis
which he saw in his patients to the ammonium nitrate, but it is highly
improbable that the latter had anything at all to do with these symp­
toms. They are characteristic of trinitrotoluol poisoning, and the
occupation in question would be very likely to cause such poisoning



even if no ammonium were present in the mixture. A superintendent
who had had some experience with this explosive mixture gave it as
his opinion that ammonium nitrate, being hygroscopic, facilitated ab­
sorption through the skin, and therefore did actually favor trinitro­
toluol poisoning.

One of the solvents used for guncotton in making smokeless powder
is amyl acetate. It is known to possess some toxic properties and
is listed by Sommerfeld1 among the industrial poisons, causing, ac­
cording to this authority* nervous symptoms, headache, sense o f full­
ness in the head, dizziness, nausea, feeling of numbness, disturbances
of digestion, and palpitation o f the heart. According to Lehmann,2
who experimented on human beings as well as animals, only slight
symptoms were set up in healthy men who were exposed for half an
hour to an atmosphere containing a quantity o f amyl acetate equal
to 5 milligrams in 1 liter of air. They felt at first an inclination
to cough, which was succeeded by irritation o f the eyes and nasal
mucosa and a dry, burning feeling in the throat and a slight feeling
o f weariness, but there was no headache and no change in the pulse.
We could not find any evidence of disturbance of health caused by
amyl acetate in this industry.

The same is true of acetone, which is also used as a solvent for
guncotton. Acetone is on Sommerfeld’s list of industrial poisons,
although, according to Robert,3 cases of poisoning from this sub­
stance have never been reported, and indeed are scarcely conceivable.
In the making o f smokeless powder, certainly, acetone is not regarded
as poisonous. Indeed one company doctor found his men using it
to wash the eye if a foreign particle got in it. Another doctor
said he had found it a good antiseptic and used it for dressing

Since the spring of 1915 there have been many articles in the
French and English medical journals dealing with the effects of
chlorine gas on men, because this is the gas ordinarily, if not always,
employed by the Germans in the present war. Some army surgeons
have believed that bromine gas and even nitrous fumes were used
in certain instances, but the overwhelming evidence is that chlorine
gas is responsible for the “ gassing ” in the trenches.
These fumes are more choking and blinding than are nitrous fumes.
Men hold their breath and run when chlorine fumes overtake them.

1 Bulletin No. 100, U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2 Archives fuer Hygiene,, 1913, vol. 78, p. 260.
3 Die Intoxikationen, p. 95.



Chlorine fumes are also more rapidly asphyxiating than nitrous
fumes, but the symptoms that develop in those who survive the
immediate effects are quite similar to the symptoms of nitrous fumes
poisoning.1 There is the same delay in the development of serious
dyspnoea, the same increasing air hunger, the same edema of the
lungs and death by internal drowning, or development o f pneumonia
i f the poisoning is not so severe.
In the making of explosives the only place where chlorine gas is
encountered is on the charging floor of a nitric-acid building, during
the first few minutes of the reaction when the acid is acting on the
sodium chloride which is always present in Chile saltpeter. Many
men were interviewed who said they had been caught by these fumes,
but never had had to breathe enough to hurt them. The superin­
tendent of an acid plant said that on one occasion when he happened
to be up at the top o f the retorts he had been unable to get away
quickly enough and had breathed so much chlorine that he felt the
effects for several days—soreness in the chest and a painful cough.
A physician in charge of the men working in a large acid works
has seen several cases of chlorine gas poisoning that presented the
same symptoms as his nitrous fumes cases— asthmatic attacks^ fol­
lowed after some hours by bronchitis and sometimes congestion of
the lungs.

In making smokeless powder from nitrocotton large quantities of
grain alcohol are used, first to drive out the water from the cotton
and then in combination with ether as a solvent. The fumes of
alcohol are quite strong in the block breaking department, where
the cotton impregnated with alcohol in a hydraulic press is broken
up. These fumes may sometimes be strong enough to make the
men somewhat drunk, but the effect o f the mixture of alcohol and
ether is so much severer than the pure alcohol that the latter does
not attract much attention.
A mixture o f ether and alcohol is added to the dehydrated nitro­
cotton and the resulting colloided mass is pressed and cut into
lengths. During these processes a great deal o f the solvent evap­
orates and the men breathe it. Both these fluids have an effect on
the central nervous system, for when they reach the blood stream
they tend to accumulate in the brain and it is there that the largest
quantity o f both ether and alcohol is to be found.2 This leads to
1 See section on “ Nitration,” p. 14.
2 Nicloux (Comptes Rendus de la Societe de Biologie, 1907, vol. 62, p. 68) found that
the brain of an animal anaesthetized with ether contained 153 milligrams to 100 grams of
tissue, the liver, 102 grams. Friedmann (These de St. Petersburg, 1902) found that
in animals intoxicated with alcohol the brain receives most of the alcohol, then the
liver. The brain seems to have a chemical affinity for alcohol.



an impairment of function of the cells of the brain, which are first
overexcited and then paralyzed or narcotized. According to Kraepelin, complete mental equilibrium is not restored till 18 to 20 hours
after an ordinary alcoholic intoxication. According to Cushny, ad­
ministration o f ether to the point of anesthesia reduces the resist­
ance of the body to bacterial invasion and to the action of toxins.
Spenzer,1 experimenting on animals, found that slight sleepiness
came on after 2 hours in an atmosphere containing 1.5 volumes of
ether per 100 of air. I f the quantity was raised to 2.5 volumes per
100 of air, incomplete narcosis occurred in 2 hours; 4.45 volumes
would cause complete narcosis in 15 minutes, with slow respirations,
and a weak, rapid pulse, while 6 volumes brought on paralysis of
respiration in 10 minutes.
I f the weather is hot and heavy, so that there is not much exchange
of air between the building and the outside, or if the windows are all
closed to keep in the heat in cold weather, there may be many cases
of “ ether ja g ” in the pressing and cutting department. New
hands suffer a good deal from mild ether poisoning. They pass
through all the stages of narcosis as they are known to the anes­
thetist, the gradually increasing confusion, excitement, which may
mak& the man almost uncontrollable for a short time, then the
gradual dulling of the senses and drowsiness, passing into stupor
and unconsciousness. The physician, even if he be on the grounds,
seldom sees the man in the stage of excitement; usually by the time
he has reached the office he is already stupid. There is no treatment
for this condition, beyond allowing him to sleep it off in fresh air.
Occasionally cases are sent to hospitals, if the narcosis is unduly
prolonged, and we have records o f one case in which unconsciousness
lasted for 24 hours. There may be heart symptoms needing medical
care, for a very rapid pulse is not uncommon.
The two most serious cases of ether poisoning which came to our
knowledge were lads who had recklessly exposed themselves to ether
fumes for several hours. They had gone into one of .the small
buildings where ether is condensed from smokeless powder—“ solventrecovery houses,” they are called— and had climbed up on one of the
solvent-recovery bins where it was warm and comfortable. They
lay down near a manhole which was supposedly well closed with
a rubber gasket, but there must have been some escape of fumes,
for after reading a while they both fell asleep. They were found
after they had been there less than an hour and a half, and both were
in an alarming condition— respiration only 6 or 8 a minute, pulse
down to 30. Two hours’ work with the pulmotor brought them
around and they were apparently none the worse for their expe­
1 Archives fuer experimental^ Pathologie und Pharmakologie, 1894, vol. 33, p. 407.



The usual after-effects of ether anesthesia follow ether poisoning
in industry. The next day the man is somewhat nauseated, has
headache, can not eat, is generally wretched, and has pains in his
back. Often he becomes accustomed tQ the fumes and does not
seem to be injured in any way by repeated exposures of many hours
each day.
On the other hand, there are men who can not get used to it. The
physician in charge of one of the largest smokeless powder works
said that he had frequent requests for transfer from the ether men,
but that he always convinced himself that the man was really ailing
before he would accede to his request. That same morning
he had just issued a transfer to a man who had symptoms of
nephritis. This is not, in his opinion, a frequent sequel o f longcontinued exposure to ether fumes, but it may occur, and it would
be a good thing if it were possible to make an examination of the
urine o f all men applying for work in this department.
A case of chronic ether poisoning was reported by a physician
practicing in the neighborhood of this same plant. The man had
worked there for three months and was then suffering from albu­
minuria and puffed eyelids. He had never had these symptoms
before. The physician had also had two patients with uremia,
both ether workers. One o f them had syphilis and his kidneys were
undoubtedly already damaged when he went to work in the ether,
but the other had been in perfect health. The former died of
uremic convulsions.
Another form of chronic ether poisoning affects the digestion and
general nutrition chiefly. A man who had been in charge o f a
smokeless powder works for six months gave his symptoms as fol­
lows: He lost his appetite, partly because he always had a taste of
ether in his mouth. His breath smelt of it all the time. After
about three months of this work be began to grow apathetic and
listless. He felt tired out and was chronically constipated. He lost
20 pounds and decided to leave the place. After taking up other
work he was still constipated for several months, but his appetite
came back and gradually he regained his normal condition. An­
other man, a workman in the pressing and cutting room, had also
had to leave on account o f his health. He said he would feel at
first very much exhilarated, “ as if I were walking on air or had a
million dollars,” and then depression would come on, especially
when he went home. He, too, found that his digestion and nutri­
tion were seriously impaired.
Most physicians and practically all superintendents and foremen
believe that if a man can become accustomed to the ether so that
he no longer gets a “ jag,” or only rarely, he will not be injured in
any way by months or even years of such work. They point to the



fact that some of the ether men actually gain in weight under the
influence of the work. But there is experimental evidence which
tends to disprove this optimistic belief.
A t the meeting of the International Congress of Industrial H y­
giene in Brussels in 1910, Rene Sand described a series of experi­
ments he had made on dogs to decide the question of chronic ether
poisoning. He exposed the dogs for 10 hours out of the 24 to
an atmosphere charged with alcohol-ether, dropping 500 grams
slowly on a sponge placed inside the little cell, which was about a
cubic meter in size and furnished with three openings as big as a
silver dollar to admit air. His tests covered only seven animals, so
they can not be regarded as more than suggestive, but as far as they
go they cast an interesting light on the effect o f long-continued
sojourn in an atmosphere heavy with ether-alcohol fumes.
The usual result was a typical “ ether jag,” which would develop
on one of the first days of the experiment, with excitement followed
by stupor. Then the dog seemed to grow accustomed to the effects
and to behave normally, even to put on weight. If, however, when
this step had been reached, the dog was killed for examination, it
was found that marked changes had begun in the organs. There
was a generally distributed passive congestion in lungs, liver, spleen,
kidneys, meninges, sometimes accompanied by capillary hemor­
rhages; an early stage of sclerosis in liver and lungs; and a pro­
nounced interstitial nephritis.
Therefore, though there has never been a thorough study of the
effect on human beings of repeated exposure for 8 or 10 hours to
an atmosphere contaminated by fumes of ether-alcohol, nevertheless,
the assumption seems to be justified that such exposure may be pro­
ductive o f gradual degeneration in certain cells of the body and this
even when the man is apparently in good health; also the belief seems
to be justified that repeated “ ether ja g s” are not as transient in
their effects as is popularly supposed.
C O M P O U N D S.

Many of the toxic substances that have been described above are
volatile compounds which when absorbed have a special affinity for
the cells of the central nervous system. Such are the nitro deriva­
tives of the benzene series, nitrobenzol, nitrochlorbenzol, nitrotoluol,
nitrophenol (picric acid) ; also the amido derivatives, anilin, diphenylamin, tetranitranilin, tetranitromethylanilin. Phenol (car­
bolic acid) is a poison of tfye same kind, and so is ether, though
belonging to a different chemical group. Experiments show that in
ether anesthesia the central nervous system contains more ether than
does any other organ (see p. 54). These derivatives o f the benzene



series and also ether, enter into combination with the fatty substances
in the brain, cholesterin and lecithin, more readily than with the
water-soluble elements of other organs.
Now, the same affinity for the central nervous system is shown by
alcohol. Here also it is in the brain that the greatest part of the
alcohol is found in cases of alcoholic intoxication. It is easy to see,
then, that if a man has been exposed to one o f the above volatile
poisons so that his brain cells have been partially poisoned, it will
require only a small dose of alcohol to act as the last straw and
bring on an attack of narcotic poisoning. As a matter o f fact, this
does occur rather frequently and gives rise in some instances to
puzzling medicolegal cases, in others to faulty medical diagnoses.
These are cases of mixed poisoning, o f which the industrial poison
is probably the more dangerous and the more responsible for the

A man who had been working in trinitrotoluol was taken to a hos­
pital delirious, and because his breath smelled of alcohol he was pro­
nounced to be suffering from acute alcoholism, and when he died
this was given as the cause of death. In another case the man was
known to be poisoned with trinitrotoluol and was told by his doctor
to stay in bed, but he got up and went out and drank some beer—no
more than he had often taken before without getting intoxicated—but
the result was an exacerbation of all the symptoms of poisoning and
death from toxic jaundice. Another case was a man of 62 years who
was employed in a toluol nitration works for about two weeks. One
night on his way home he stopped in a saloon and drank, but how
much is not known. He was found dead in his bed in the morning,
and the physician who related the incident believed it to be a case
of triton poisoning, aggravated by alcohol.
Ether men are said to be unduly susceptible to the effects of
alcohol. Although this does not seem to have been observed by
physicians who practice among them, the men themselves say that
a single glass of beer or one drink of whisky may be enough to make
a man dead drunk if he has just come off his shift in the pressing
and cutting house. These men, if taken to jail or the workhouse,
sometimes scent the whole place with ether, their breath is so heavy
with it. It is quite probable that such stories are true, for if a man
has absorbed ether just short of the point where it begins to produce
anesthesia and then takes a dose of another poison with & similar
effect, the two will act together, although to the uninforijred it will
seem like an ordinary case of drunkenness.
M ohr1 has reported several cases of severe poisoning from benzene
derivatives (chlorbenzol and nitrobenzol), in each of which the excit­
1 Deutsche M edicinische W ochenschrift, 1902, vol. 28, p. 73.



ing cause of the acute toxic attack was a moderate indulgence in
alcohol. These facts should be borne in mind before the diagnosis of
“ acute alcoholism ” or u delirium tremens ” is made as to a man who
has been exposed to one of these volatile poisons.

For all these explosives nitric acid is an essential. We found it
manufactured in 15 plants and refortified in practically all. Chile
saltpeter (sodium nitrate) is acted on by sulphuric acid in great
egg-shaped iron retorts or stills, with the fire below. Acid and salt­
peter are charged through a manhole at the top, which is then tightly
closed and luted down with clay. The nitric acid, which is volatile
at the temperatures employed, distills out and passes through a con­
denser, where it is condensed to liquid by cooling with water either
in glass tubes over which water flows (the Hart condensation system)
or in fire-clay vessels or in vessels made from an alloy of iron and
The greater part o f the nitric acid produced is obtained from this
condenser. However, a portion of the nitric acid generated is de­
composed into oxides o f nitrogen of lower degrees of oxidation which
are not condensed at ordinary temperatures. In order to recover
this portion of the product the gases, after leaving the condenser,
and from which the nitric acid proper has been removed, pass into a
series of absorption towers in which they flow countercurrent to a
stream o f water or dilute nitric acid, which is fed over the towers.
In these towers the lower oxides are oxidized and combined with
water to form dilute nitric acid. The residue (“ salt cake ” or
“ candy” ), which is chiefly sodium bisulphate and some neutral
sulphate, runs out hot into great shallow pans, which are out in the
open, covered only with a roof, and there it hardens. To make it
more fluid an excess of sulphuric acid is often added to the original
charge in the stills, and consequently there may be very irritating
fumes when it first flows out, but there is a ready escape for them
because of the open construction. Up at the top of the stills, on the
charging floor, the air may be badly contaminated, during the first
few minutes o f the reaction, by fumes of chlorin gas, given off because
there is always some chloride present as an impurity in the saltpeter.
In some plants this is allowed to escape; in others it passes into the
condenser system. In one such building a 2-inch opening is left
in the plug of the still, and here a pipe is connected for the first 10
minutes o f the heating to carry the chlorin gas to the outside, after
which this opening also is closed.



The only feature of the cooling and condensing systems that con­
cerns us is their successful working, whether all the oxides of nitrogen
are caught and condensed or more or less gas is allowed to escape and
poison the air. Three nitric-acid plants were visited which were
so free from irritating gases that one would not have suspected what
was being manufactured there. But in the other 12 fumes were
escaping somewhere, not always enough to constitute a grave dis­
comfort to the men working in them, but usually quite enough to
make an outsider suffer. This was under ordinary working condi­
tions. When a leak occurred matters became bad enough to affect
the workmen, too. Unfortunately leaks are not unusual in nitricacid manufacture, for the acid eats through almost any material.
A ir pressure is very likely to be irregular in the glass “ pulsometer ”
condensation tubes and result in breaks, the air stopping for a while
and then starting up again with too much force. Filling carboys
with the finished acid is a continual source o f small amounts o f fume.
Another source is found in the fume pipes to carry off the gases from
the condensers. These are often so low as to allow the fumes to
spread over the ground and even blow back into the building.
To provide for accidental bursting of pipes or too rapid action in
a still, the best managed plants have balconies running* along the
charging floor and many easily reached exits leading to them. They
are also provided with abundant water supply, so that if acid
splashes over a man he can immediately wash it off. In less wellequipped acid buildings the men are expected to use the water that
runs over the condensing tubes.
The repairing and cleaning of stills may be dangerous work if the
still is not first thoroughly cleaned out, but it is entirely possible to
do away with the danger here and to render the work not only safe
but fairly cojnfortable.
Valentiner’s process was seen in only one plant. The chief fea­
ture of this method is that the distillation and condensation are
carried on under a vacuum, the purpose being to reduce the corrosive
action of the fumes upon the apparatus and to reduce the decomposi­
tion of nitric acid in the retort by reducing the temperature neces­
sary for the distillation. Those who use it claim that it is more
rapid, more easily controlled, and less subject to breakages than other
systems, but since the condensing and absorbing apparatus for nitric
acid must be constructed of acid-resisting material, it is evident that
the maintenance of a vacuum-tight system presents great difficulties.
From our standpoint the Valentiner system has great advantages,
for the' vacuum makes the escape of fumes practically impossible.
Certainly, at the time o f inspection the building in which this process
was in use was entirely free from fumes,




This is made in seven of the plants that were visited and by two
processes, the older “ lead-chamber ” process and the newer contact'
process. For both, pyrites is roasted to produce sulphur dioxide, or
sulphur flowers are burned, the latter being generally used in con­
nection with the contact process. Pyrites roasting is hot and dis­
agreeable work, but in the newer plants it has been made as tolerable
as possible by good ventilation. One danger comes from the vola­
tilization o f arsenic, which is present as an impurity in all these
ores, and which passes over with the sulphur oxides and must be re­
moved in the “ dust box,” together with unburned pyrites and oxides
o f zinc and antimony. In the burning of sulphur flowers there may
be neither excessive heat nor any disagreeable fumes, as was the
case in one plant where a revolving furnace was used, automatically
fed. At the time this place was visited the air was entirely free
from fumes, as indeed were all the departments of the acid building.
In either process the sulphur dioxide must be converted into sul­
phur trioxide in order to form sulphuric acid. In the lead-chamber
process this is accomplished by the oxidizing action o f oxides of
nitrogen, which are introduced, together with steam, into the socalled “ lead chamber.” The hot sulphur-dioxide gases from the
burners pass first through a tower called the “ Glover tower,” over
which sulphuric acid containing nitrogen oxides is circulated. The
hot gases drive out the nitrogen oxides and also partially concen­
trate the sulphuric acid in the Glover tower, being thereby them­
selves cooled in the process. The mixture o f sulphur dioxide and
nitrogen oxides passes then to the lead chambers, where the oxidation
takes place as above described, additional quantities o f nitrogen
oxides being supplied directly to the lead chamber.
The gases leaving the lead chamber are passed through a final
scrubbing tower or series of towers known as the Gay-Lussac towers,
where the valuable nitrogen oxides are removed by scrubbing with
sulphuric acid before the gases are finally allowed to escape to the air.
It is in the chamber process that the escape of fumes of sulphur
dioxide may be great enough to cause much discomfort and even
actual harm. In one acid works the Cottrell process for condensing
these fumes by electricity has been installed, apparently with excel­
lent results.
The acid formed by the lead chamber process, which is drawn off
from time to time from the bottom of the lead chamber, is dilute,
and in order to make it suitable for most purposes it must be con­
centrated as described under the heading “ Acid Recovery” (p. 62).
In the contact process the oxidation of the sulphur dioxide is ac­
complished by passing it, mixed with air, over a contact material



which consists of finely divided platinum or platinized asbestos.
This platinum has the property of causing sulphur dioxide and
oxygen to combine and form sulphur trioxide. The water necessary
to form sulphuric acid with the sulphur trioxide is added in the.
form o f dilute sulphuric acid, with which the gas issuing from the
oxidizers or 6 converters ” is scrubbed. This process results in the
production of strong acid directly by absorption of the trioxide in
sulphuric acid and it is possible to produce sulphuric acid containing
free trioxide in solution. This is known as “ fuming sulphuric acid.”

In almost all of the nitrating operations involved in the manufac­
ture of explosives a spent or waste acid, consisting o f a mixture of
nitric and sulphuric acids, is obtained as a by-product. In order to
recover the constituents of this waste acid in a valuable form the
ingredients must be separated and concentrated.
The operation of separating the two acids, which is usually called
denitration, is accomplished by passing the acids down a tower of
acid-resisting material and introducing a current of steam at the
bottom of the tower. The steam serves both to heat up the mixture
and drive off the volatile nitric acid and nitrogen oxides and also to
dilute the mixture, breaking up the compounds of sulphuric acid
with nitrogen oxides, which are comparatively stable in the presence
o f concentrated sulphuric acid. With this treatment the separation
is accomplished, the nitric acid and nitrogen oxides being given off
at the top of the tower in gaseous form and the sulphuric acid free
from nitric flowing from the bottom. The condensation and absorp­
tion of the nitric acid and nitrogen oxides are accomplished substan­
tially as described above under nitric acid.
The diluted sulphuric acid flowing from the bottom of the denitrating tower must be concentrated to be suitable for most uses. This is
done by passing the acid through a series of open pans or basins of
material which will resist the action of hot sulphuric acid. These
pans are usually heated from below by direct fire and the acid
brought to boiling. In the first pans of the series practically nothing
but water is evaporated from the boiling acid, which becomes gradu­
ally more concentrated. As the strength of the acid increases the
boiling liquid gives off vapors of water and sulphuric acid mixed,
which are condensed in order to avoid the loss of the acid and
returned to the first part of the system.

Thirteen of the plants visited manufacture nitrocellulose and use
processes more or less dangerous to the workmen. But in all of them



the work of preparing the cotton for nitration and the subsequent
ridding o f the nitrated cotton from acid are operations quite devoid
of risk, so that not by any means all the employees in the factory are
exposed to risk of poisoning. For instance, in one large plant, where
some 17,000 men were employed in making nitrocellulose, only about
4,500 were in those departments where nitrous fumes may arise, the
rest were not exposed at all in the course of their ordinary work.
Cotton is changed to nitrocellulose or guncotton1 by treatment
with a large quantity of mixed acids, about 1 part o f cotton to 50
parts o f acids. A mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids is used, the
latter because the reaction between the cotton and the nitric acid
results in the production of water, and strong sulphuric acid must
be added to take up the water. The explosive power o f the result­
ing guncotton depends on the percentage of nitrogen taken up. I f
the nitration is carried on for a longer time at a high temperature with
a larger proportion of nitric acid, a nitrocellulose is formed which is
not soluble, or sparingly so, in a mixture of ether and alcohol, and
is classed as a high explosive. This is known as military guncotton
and is also used in the mixed nitroglycerin powders such as cordite.
If, on the other hand, the nitration is carried on more rapidly at a
lower temperature and with a weaker nitric acid, soluble guncotton
is formed, which is not classed as a high explosive, and is used not
only for smokeless powder but for the manufacture of celluloid,
lacquers, varnishes, artificial silk, etc.
Three methods of nitrating cotton were found in use in these fac­
tories, centrifugal nitration, pot nitration (Marshall’s “ direct dip­
p in g ” ), and the displacement process. There is a fourth method,
Abel’s, described by Marshall, but it seems not to be used in the
United States.

A typical building for this sort of nitration is three stories high,
the top floor being used for the mixing and digestion o f cotton and
acid. The mixed acid from supply tanks outside flows into the
digestor and is mixed with cotton already carefully purified. This is
then sent down through supply pipes to the wringers, or centrifuges,
on the floor below. There is rarely any trouble from nitrogen oxide
fumes up here, unless there is a leak in the acid supply pipe—leaking
pipes are no rarity in any form of nitration, for the strong acids eat
through almost any substance—or unless the fumes on the second
story can make their way up to the third. In cases of bad “ fires ”
1 Guncotton is, according to Sadtler (Handbook of Industrial Chemistry. Philadelphia,
1895), the hexanitrate of cellulose, Cj^HuO^NOaJe, if the acid used is strong nitric acid;
if weaker, it is the trinitrate or tetranitrate. Marshall gives as an approximate formula
CeH7(N0 2)305 for the higher nitration product, and for the lower, C6H8(N 02)06.



this does happen, and therefore it is best to have emergency exits and
balconies for this story as well as for the second.
On the second floor are the wringers or centrifugals supplied
from above with acid and cotton, or in some cases the acid is carried
with the cotton in the wringer. The workman fills his wringer, turns
the supply pipe to one side to drip over a drain, puts on the lid
loosely, and starts the centrifuge. I f it does not start promptly
enough, or if the cotton is matted, and does not mix well, or if there
is too little acid, or if anything else goes wrong, a rapid decomposition
takes place and fumes o f the different oxides o f nitrogen begin to
come off. This is known as “ firing ” or “ fuming off.” The mixed
white and orange fumes may pour out with such suddenness and
violence as to hurl the man back for several yards. In one very
well-managed plant where the wringer men are protected by means
o f strong helmets made of fiber, one man had his helmet flattened
against his head by the force of such an explosion. O f course, when
this occurs a quantity o f liquid acid is splashed about and may give
rise to severe bums.
An investigator of guncotton factories soon becomes accustomed to
these “ fires,” the clouds of angry-looking fumes pouring out, the
workmen running for the exits, the choking feeling in the air, and
the light, prickling, burning sensation over the face from the fine
spray of acid. Indeed, it is rare that an inspection can be made of
a guncotton plant without at least one fire occurring during the visit,
no matter how short it is. Eight large fires, with fumes thick enough
to dye the skies, and many smaller ones, took place during a threehour visit to one plant, but even worse was a much smaller factory
where three fires occurred during seven minutes’ time. Nor did the
men in either place seem to look upon it as anything out of the
The rule is for the men at the wringers to make for the open air as
quickly as possible and wait there till the fumes have died down and
been sucked out by the exhausts. In the better constructed build­
ings, narrow porches with stairs leading to the ground are placed on
both sides o f the nitrating room, and there are many exits leading
to them. In others, the arrangement is not so good; the walls of
the wringer room are not free, and the men must go into the cotton
rooms to escape the fumes, or perhaps into a space between buildings
where fumes penetrate and do not find a ready escape. A very good
arrangement was seen in a new plant in Rhode Island, where each
nitrating unit, digestor and wringer, is separated from the one next
to it by a fire wall, so that in case of decomposition the fumes can not
spread all through the building.
To an outside observer this continual “ firing,” with the loss of a
whole wringer charge, seems very wasteful, not only of cotton but



o f labor, for work must be suspended whenever it happens. It may
be that such accidents are unavoidable, but it is certainly true that
if awkwardness and lack o f skill have anything to do with them
there is plenty o f it, for the labor employed is entirely unskilled and
usually not even experienced, since the turnover of labor is always
greatest bn the nitrating area*
The fumes may clear up in about three minutes after a fire, to the
point where the men can go back to work,, though a person unaccus­
tomed to them must wait at least twice as long. On hot, heavy days
it may be 10 or 15 minutes before the air clears. During certain
days in July and August of 1916 production in the nitrating area
of one o f these plants fell off about 50 per cent, simply because of the
unbearable condition of the air.
It is not only while the mixture is going into the wringer that
fires may occur, but during the time it is being centrifuged. I f the
wringing process is too much prolonged, if the right moment for
stopping it is passed, the charge may fire or even explode. The dan­
ger is greater the higher the nitration o f the cotton.
The next step is to wash the nitrocellulose free from residual acid.
In factories o f the type just described, the wringer is discharged
directly through a pipe to a drowning tank on the ground floor and
the washing is done under cover, so there is practically no trouble
with fumes here. But if washing, or drowning, as it is called, is
done by hand and in uncovered tanks there is always a great evolu­
tion o f nitrous fumes, to adopt the term used in general for the
mixture of higher and lower oxides of nitrogen. Such methods of
drowning are seen in several plants using the centrifugal method of
nitration. In some of them all the processes—mixing, digesting,
centrifuging, and drowning—take place in the same room. The cot­
ton is placed in wringers, acid is poured on by one man while an­
other works the cotton back and forth with tongs to mix it thor­
oughly, then the cover is put on, digestion takes place, the cotton is
dug out and thrown into a drowning tank. Such rooms are always
fairly full o f fumes and may be almost unendurably so, even when
work is going on in the usual way without the slightest accident.
Fumes rise when the cotton is being mixed with acid, and at any
moment a fire may take place, and they rise when the cotton is
thrown into the drowning tank. A description of one such plant
will make this clear.
The nitration is carried on in a long, fairly high building, well
ventilated for ordinary purposes, windows in sides and roof, wide
doors at each end, yet the air is choking. There are 12 wringers,
6 along each wall, and down the middle of the room runs a long, open
trough o f water—the drowning tank. One man w as charging a
92776°— Bull. 219— 17------ 5



wringer with cotton while another mixed it with the acid that ran in
from a supply pipe in the wringer, using a sort of trident of alumi­
num. Both worked at a high speed, for this is in a sense piece work,
and clouds o f orange fumes rose as the acid met the cotton, in spite
o f the fact that there is an exhaust inside the wringer which is sup­
posed to draw them off. The wringer was then closed and 'the men
went outside to wait till digestion was over. They came back,
opened the wringer, and began to empty it with the most feverish
haste, digging out the cotton and flinging it into the drowning tank,
and at every fling a cloud of fumes arose, though they tried to pre­
vent that by submerging the cotton as quickly as they could. In
their haste a good deal o f the cotton was dropped on the floor and
lay there giving off white acid fumes, but there was no time to pick
it up. Three wringer charges were being drowned at once and the
air was almost unbearable. The long tank is open and far too large
for any exhaust system to be practicable. A t this moment a fourth
wringer took fire, and as the gases spread, the men were obliged to
leave everything and run outside. We moved on to the next build­
ing, where only quite harmless processes are carried on—washing and
boiling the gun cotton—but here, too, the fumes penetrated, because
the two buildings are continuous. There are about 30 men working
in the nitrating on each o f the three shifts.
Another plant very similar to this one has a better arrangement,
because the nitrating units are separated from each other. There is
a drowning tank for each wringer. This makes possible the partial
walling off o f each unit and the installing o f exhausts, not only in
the wringer but at the end o f the drowning tank which is nearest to
the wringer and which receives the cotton from it. This exhaust
carries off fumes which in the other building are allowed to escape.

Centrifugal nitration is not adapted to produce the highly nitrated
cotton o f low ether-alcohol solubility, because parts of the cotton
may escape the action o f the acid in the relatively short time the
cotton remains in the centrifuge. For the production o f military
guncotton and nitroglycerin powders a longer digestion is needed.
This is done in zinc or steel or earthenware pots. The prepared cot­
ton in one o f these pots is mixed with the acids; then the pot is cov­
ered and set aside to digest for about 20 to 40 minutes. Then it is
emptied quickly into a centrifuge wringer and cautiously freed from
the excess acid, the wringing being watched carefully, for fires are
very likely to occur during this process. The cotton is dug out and
plunged into water. Strong nitric acid is used in this process, and
it is the experience of one large plant in which both pot and mechani­



cal nitration are carried on that the pot method is the more pro­
ductive o f “ fume sickness ” among the men. A description of one
such plant would read as follow s:
“ Pot nitration is carried on in open sheds with wide doors, and
there are windows in roof and walls. The wooden floors are eaten
by the acid, and this makes them rather soft and slippery. There
are separate sheds for dipping (m ixing), for digesting, and for
wringing. In the dipping shed men were lifting zinc pots to a plat­
form about a foot and a half higher than the floor, made of wood
with strips nailed across to keep the men’s feet from slipping. Here
the acid from a storage tank outside is run in on the cotton and just
above the opening of the acid supply pipe is an earthenware fume
pipe designed to catch the fumes at the point where they form. A
jet of steam in it makes a fairly strong up-draft but not strong
enough to catch it all, and the management plans to slot the floor
o f the platform and install a down-draft through it.
“ A Roumanian, a new hand, was letting the acid run into his
pot and was prodding the cotton and turning it over to mix it thor­
oughly. Suddenly something went wrong, and orange fumes began
to come off. The foreman ran forward and showed him how to
manage it, for a 4fire ’ was imminent. When it was mixed he gave
it a shove along the slippery floor, and another man covered it with
a good, air-tight lid and took it to the digestor shed.
“ The air in the digestor shed is very tolerable. After digestion
the pot goes to the wringer shed, where the workman takes off the
lid and, in great haste, shovels the contents into a wringer and starts
it, while an overseer stands by, watch in hand, timing him, for if
he lets it run too long it will 6fire.’ It is all done so hastily that
cotton is spilled on the floor and nobody has time to fork it up nor
to put the lid on the now smoking pot, but these fumes, though
choking to the unaccustomed visitor, are negligible in the eyes of
the foreman who is watching for so much more dangerous ones.
A t any moment the wringer may 4fire ’ and give serious trouble.
4 The fumes in the wringer shed, ordinarily, are not nearly so
trying as in the dipping shed, for there acid is often spilled on the
floor, sometimes a pot tips over, sometimes a supply pipe springs a
leak. Really dangerous fires, however, occur more often in the
wringer sheds. Precautions against these dangers are seen every­
where, in the easy escapes to the outer air, in the provision of
emergency shower baths, and bubbling fountains, so that if acid
splashes over a man’s skin or into his eyes he can wash it off in an
instant. The bubbling fountain makes an excellent eye douche.”
In another plant a similar method is used, but the arrangements
are not nearly so good, and consequently the fumes from the different
processes are far more irritating. The dipping shed is continuous



with the digestor and wringing sheds, so fumes from any part can
spread all through. The lids on the pots are flat and are put on so
carelessly that puffs o f white fumes escape all the time digestion
goes on. Here the air was so foggy with these white fumes o f nitric
acid and the lower oxides that one could barely see the other side o f
the shed. Good exhausts are provided for the wringers and the
fumes are carried off unless there is a fire, but there is no exhaust for
the drowning tank which stands beside it and the fumes from it are
sometimes very bad. After only a few minutes’ stay in this building
the visitor was forced to go into the open air, for the fumes were
blinding, and it was impossible to breathe even through a hand­
In all these plants some precautions are taken to protect the men
from acid burns and from “ fume sickness,” but in some naturally
they are much more intelligently and generously planned than in
others. It is the prevailing custom to provide the men in the
nitrating area w ith rubber gloves and high rubber boots and often
rubber aprons. Respirators also are usually provided and the men
urged to wear them, but this is seldom done except perhaps for a
short time during a “ dress parade ” before an inspector. Indeed it is
doubtful if they should be worn, especially in hot weather. The
pressure o f the edge against the prominences of the cheek makes
acid-laden perspiration collect there and leads to sores and ulcers.
The sponge in the respirator would have to be washed out often to
make it really useful. In those cases where a formidable amount o f
acid fumes must be encountered for a short time, as when a leak
must be stopped, there is no doubt that a respirator with the sponge
soaked in a solution o f caustic alkali as strong as can be endured, or
in a solution o f bicarbonate of soda is the best protection possible,
but for continuous use probably a thick pad o f cheesecloth over
nose and mouth is better. Factory inspectors of both Great Britain
and Germany have for some years past advised such protection for
men exposed to lead dust and fumes, on the ground that pads were
more efficient worn all the time than were respirators which would
inevitably be worn only part of the time. There are several patterns
o f such cotton pads used in British lead works and the employer is
required to have them washed daily.
Nitrating buildings should always have an abundant and easily
accessible water supply, for acid splashes will occur, and the only
chance of averting a severe burn is to wash with plenty of water as
quickly as possible. The best of these plants have shower baths
installed at frequent intervals and bubbling fountains. Others have
only hydrants or ordinary sinks with cold-water faucets. One
manager has placed on the balcony of his nitrating building a large
hogshead filled with a solution of soda ash, and the burnt man is



supposed to jump in and submerge till he is all soaked with the weak
alkaline solution.

This was seen in only one factory. It seems to be the safest
method of nitrating cotton, and it can be used for making military
guncotton, the highly nitrated product.

Cotton is placed in large earthenware receptacles, about 42 inches
in diameter, which stand in rows in a long narrow shed with a brick
floor sloping to a drain. These pots are on pedestals about a foot
from the floor* The cotton lies on perforated earthenware plates at
the bottom of the pot and acid is run in and mixed with it. D uring
mixing an adjustable hood is lowered and an 8-inch earthenware
pipe with a down-draft is uncovered. More perforated plates are
then laid on top of the mixed acid and cotton, and a film of water
is carefully run over the surface, serving to hold in the acid fumes.
There is then no further need for the hood, and it is raised, and the
pipe covered. The cotton digests for about an hour, then a drain at
the bottom of the pot is opened, and water is run in from a hose to
displace the acid, washing it down the drain and overflowing to the
runway in the floor.
Along the floor a cloud of white acid fumes lay up to about 3 feet5
but above that the air was clear till displacement began. Then
whitish clouds began to come off, but the air was never really trying
even to an unaccustomed person. Some decomposition may occur in
case the mixing is poorly done, the cotton matted, or so on, or there
may be a break in the supply pipe. But there is said to be no danger
of a real fire in this process. Certainly it was not possible to dis­
cover any serious case of “ fume sickness ” in connectiqn with this
In the neighborhood of these nitrating factories the wire screens
o f windows rot away rapidly, the woolen shirts worn by the men last
fairly well, but the cotton thread in the seams rots and the shirts fall
apart. The men find that their front teeth decay. One company
doctor has said that he would like to reject all mouth breathers who
apply for work in nitrating, because they are sure to lose their teeth.
It seems unbelievable that acid strong enough to affect the enamel
o f the teeth and to eat away good wire screening in a few months
should be quite without effect on the mucous membrane lining the
human respiratory tract, yet physicians who have charge of these
plants insist that no chronic injury results to the throat or bronchi
or lungs as a result of long exposure to the acid fumes. Indeed, they
sometimes claim that tlie men are singularly free from pulmonary
tuberculosis. This is, however, a common belief wherever corrosive
poisons are used. The fumes are always supposed to kill the germs of



tuberculosis. Even lead workers believe th at lead fumes have this
effect, though statistics show exactly the contrary, to be true.
I t may be that the continual turnover of men in this industry is
what keeps chronic effects from appearing. In one plant, one of the
best, 249 of the 4,500 nitrating men quit at the end of one week, and
of all the new men taken on 40 per cent were for the nitrating force,
although it comprised less than one-tliird of the whole.

Some of the guncotton made in this country is shipped wet to
Europe, to be there converted into various kinds of poAvders, or it
may be shipped wet to another factory in this country, but as a rule
the powder is made in the same plant in which the cotton was
Nine plants were visited in which smokeless powder and mixed
powders, the so-called nitroglycerin powders, are made. The various
processes are carried on usually in separate buildings, and there is
ample ventilation and a high standard of cleanliness, both of these
necessary as measures of accident prevention, for the vapors given off
are inflammable and the dust is explosive. Incidentally the danger
of industrial poisoning is also lessened by these measures.
Wet guncotton comes from the washing and boiling departments
which have followed the processes of nitration, and the first step is to
drive out the water, then colloid the cotton by means of some solvent,
and then to press and cut the rubberlike mass into appropriate
shapes. A fter most of the water has been removed by centrifuging,
the next process is dehydrating by forcing denatured alcohol in
through the blocks of nitrocotton in a hydraulic press. From the press
the cotton comes out in a block like a large cheese, and this is broken
up by wooden hammers. A great deal of alcohol vapor is given
off in block breaking, and the men may have alcohol “ jags,” but
the effects are so much pleasanter than the effects of the ether en­
countered in the next step that they attract little or no attention.
This block breaking is usually done in small separate buildings, and
they must be kept scrupulously clean for fear of explosions.
Mixing is the next operation and the solvent used differs in differ­
ent powders. W hat is known as smokeless powder, or pyroxylin,
or pyro powder, is a product of lowT nitration, described as the
pentanitrate of cotton, or dekanitrocotton, containing about 11.5
to 12.5 per cent of nitrogen. I t dissolves in ether-alcohol, which
changes it to a colloidal state. This smokeless powder is not classed
as a high explosive.
The nitroglycerin powders, cordite and others, are made from
guncotton of higher nitration, a hexanitrate or endekanitrocotton,



containing about 12.5 to 13.5 per cent nitrogen. These are mixed
with nitroglycerin and sometimes acetone and vaseline to form
colloided strips. N. G. powders are not soluble in ether-alcohol.
F or smokeless powder, pyroxylin, the fragments from the block
are put into a mixer or incorporating machine, where they are finely
divided. Then ether and grain alcohol are run in from a hose and
thoroughly mixed with it.
Often this is done in a long narrow building with a row of mixers,
each with a wide door in front of it and a window behind. The
mixers are like bread-kneading machines, containing blades rotating
in opposite directions. The openings are rather wide, about 1 | by
2 | feet, and whenever the machine is thrown open strong whiffs
of ether escape. Then, when the men are emptying out the mixed
cotton with long-handled hoes, the air gets very heavy with ether.
To get at the last p art of the charge the man always seems to have
to lean far into the machine with his head inside while he digs out
the cotton at the bottom. Often, too, one sees a man almost inside
the mixer trying to set right something which has gone wrong with
the mechanism. To the outsider, mixing seems to be attended with
exposure to very unpleasantly strong ether fumes, but it is the unani­
mous testimony of workmen, superintendents, and company doctors
that this is not the department in which ether poisoning is to be
feared. The danger is in the processes of pressing and cutting.
E ight times as much of the solvent, according to one superintendent,
is lost in pressing and cutting as is lost in mixing.
In the mixing department it is a fairly simple m atter to provide
abundant natural ventilation, and on cool, windy days the air is gen­
erally fairly good. But in the following department, pressing and
cutting, free ventilation is possible only in warm weather, because
the temperature here must always be maintained at about 75° F.
(in one place as low as 70°, in most up to 80° F .). When a visit
to a smokeless-powder factory was made on a hot, humid day in
summer, or on a cold fall day when the windows were shut, the
report invariably read “ ether fumes heavy and disagreeable,” while
the visits made on pleasant, fresh days in May and October found
the air in these departments quite tolerable. The men themselves
always say th at the cases of ether poisoning are most frequent in
winter when all the windows are shut, and next most frequent on
heavy, windless nights in summer.
From the mixers the cotton goes to a block press—“ preliminary
block ”—and comes out a colloid mass, looking very like some kinds
of crude rubber. This is pressed through a “ strainer,” a series of
metal screens, to remove impurities, out of which it emerges in the
shape of spaghetti or macaroni. This is again pressed into the
“ final block,” and the final block is driven through a die and comes



out in long cords of various degrees of thickness, from th at of coarse
spaghetti to delicate strings, all of them perforated with several
tiny holes running the length of the string. These are cut into the
required lengths in a machine and are taken in tightly covered boxes
to the solvent recovery houses, where the remaining ether-alcohol
is collected for further use.
Pressing and cutting are almost always carried on in a building
with plenty of windows and wide doors that provide good natural
ventilation, sufficient if only ordinary processes were going on, and
a system of artificial ventilation for the days when the windows
must be closed. One plant was visited which had been running all
winter with no air supply except the windows, and since the heat had^
to be kept at 75° F., it was easy to credit the superintendent’s state­
ment that they had had endless trouble with the men and had de­
cided not to try to get through another winter without artificial
ventilation. The best method of providing this is the one that is
used in several of the plants visited—heated air sent in through
numerous pipes just below the ceiling and vents in the walls just
a t the floor level. Ether fumes are heavy and can not be got rid
of by an up-draft. The suction must be down and the air given
egress at the floor level.
Even in the best ventilated pressing and cutting buildings the
a ir is always, in all weather, ether-laden. There is always more or
less trouble from this source, especially among new workmen.
Solvent recovery houses give no trouble, except in case of accident,
for every effort is made to recover and not to lose the ether fumes.
The subsequent processes of “ w et-dry” cleansing, of sorting, and
of blending, while highly important, if one is studying accidents,
are negligible if one is studying occupational poisoning.
For certain kinds of smokeless powder amyl acetate is the solvent
used. The odor of amyl acetate^ was not disagreeably strong in
either of the buildings in which this form of powder was being made.
There are many mixed, or nitroglycerin, or n. g., powders manu­
factured, but only two were seen in the course of this investigation,
namely, cordite and ballistite, both made from nitroglycerin and
guncotton with acetone as a solvent. Diphenylamin is sometimes
added to solvent for smokeless powder and undoubtedly is respon­
sible in part for the symptoms caused by inhaling this solvent.
H2(N 0 2)3H 0).

A t the time this investigation was made, 10 plants were manu­
facturing picric acid or had been doing so up to a few weeks before.
All th at has been said of the dangers of nitrogen-oxide fumes
in the nitrating of cotton holds good of the nitrating of phenol



and need not be repeated here. As in the case of cotton it is the
mixing and the drowning processes that give rise to the most dan­
gerous fumes. Whether or not these fumes are actually more abun­
dant in the manufacture o f picric acid than in making nitrocel­
lulose, certainly in the United States they are more abundantly
produced in the making o f picric acid. The reason may be found
in the fact that no nitrocellulose factory was found which was so
recklessly and crudely conducted as were certain o f those making
picric acid. The number o f cases of fume poisoning in four gun­
cotton plants as compared with those in four picric-acid plants
were found to be as follow s: 1

Number em p loyed______________ 14,000 to 15,000
Total c a s e s _____________________
F atal c a s e s _____________________

Picric acid.

1,200 to 1,800

The proportion of cases among total employed is much greater
among the picric-acid men, and the severity of the poisoning as indi­
cated by proportion of fatal cases is also somewhat greater.

The methods used to change phenol to its trinitro derivative,
which is known as picric acid, vary from the most primitive to the
most highly developed. In two small plants the following processes
were found. In the first, phenol which has been mixed with sul­
phuric acid2 is blown to a tank in the nitrating building. Here
the nitrating tanks are charged with nitric acid by pouring in the
contents of carboys, and then the phenol is drawn from the storage
tank into pitchers and poured into the acid, while the workman
stirs the mixture. There is a great evolution of fumes, and some
escape through the 2-foot opening in the lid of the nitrator. N itra­
tion takes about 24 hours, and during this time the lid of this open­
ing must be removed from time to time, and the mixture stirred
again. There is a fume pipe from each nitrator running to the roof
and with a steam jet to make an exhaust, but it is of little use while
mixing is going o n ; the fumes are far too abundant. The men here
work in 12-hour shifts.
The second plant (since closed) was in an ordinary factory build­
ing with no more than the usual window space for ventilation. In a
room about 200 by 50 feet there were 30 large stone crocks for nitrat­
ing, and phenol manufacture was carried on at the other end of the
room. Each crock stood in a wooden box with an air-tight cover, but
there was an opening in it about a foot square through which mixing
1 These figures are not complete, but the margin of error is probably as great on one
side as on the other.
2 Phenol is first sulphonated, making it water-soluble, then treated with nitric acid.
The action of n itric acid on unchanged phenol would be too violent.



and stirring were done, first with wooden rods, then, after they rotted
away, with glass rods. The picric acid was dipped out and poured
into filters and water poured over it. The fumes in this place were
very bad, and later on the management undertook an elaborate sys­
tem of closed nitrators and exhausts, but the plant closed down
before it was completed. Both these factories employed few men,
not more than 50 or 60 in each.
Even more dangerous conditions were found in two other plants
which were at the time employing about 1,100 men, and have since
more than doubled th a t force. They use pot nitrating. The process
in the two is essentially the same.
There are two long, open sheds for nitrating picric acid. One,
recently built, has a fairly high roof; the second, older, is very low,
and air is cut off on one side by a building. Rows of wooden tanks
with wooden lids run down both sides of the shed. Inside are great
earthenware pots containing sulphonated phenol, and outside are
carboys of nitric acid. As the lid was raised to show the pot the
opening of an exhaust pipe was also seen just above the pot. When
they are ready to nitrate, a siphon is introduced into the carboy,
started with water, and the acid flows down into the phenol in the
pot. The lid, of course, is off while this goes on, and the exhaust
does not nearly carry off the fumes, which are very dense the moment
the acid reaches the phenol. All the siphons in one shed, 100 or more,
are supposed to be “ shot off ” at the same moment and the men to run
for the open. There they are supposed to wait for two hours and
then go back, break up the crust of picric acid which has formed on
the surface of the pot, and go out again. The men say this causes
almost as bad fumes as the mixing. Of course, if anything goes
wrong the man can not run out at once, and, in any case, he has
five pots to “ shoot ” before he can go. Later on a fire may start or a
leak or a stoppage may occur. Then he must venture back again
into the long, low shed, now filled with heavy fumes. The workmen
themselves complain more bitterly of this method of making picric
acid than of any other kind of work in the manufacture of explosives,
and the evils are aggravated in the two plants using this method by
the fact that they were hastily constructed and had not, at the time
this study was made, devised any efficient method for controlling the
fumes, nor had they provided any way for the men to rid themselves
of picric-acid dust at the end of their day’s work. There were no
facilities for washing, and in one of them, where a lunch counter
>was used by the men, one could see workmen eating with hands
covered with the yellow dust and smears of yellow dust on the
counter. This place worked the men in 12-hour shifts.
Six other plants nitrate phenol in far safer ways than this. In one
the crude phenol, melted with steam, is sulphonated in tanks, heavy



iron vessels tightly covered and mechanically agitated. The phenol
runs into a great square vat, lead lined, covered with heavy, remov­
able plates, and connected with an exhaust by means o f a fume pipe.
There is some escape of fume from the cracks between the plates and
also from the peephole, about the size o f an ordinary stove lid, which
is lifted from time to time to see how the reaction is progressing.
The air here is usually very good, however, though there may be a
violent evolution of gases, which would blow off the plates and scat- ;
ter acid and spread thick fumes. The picric acid from the nitrator
runs out into open earthenware pots with coarse earthenware colan­
ders, that lie on cracked stone, and through which the waste acid
filters out.

In another very well conducted plant the following method was
found in use: The building is a long, low shed, quite open, with win­
dows in roof and sides, floor clean and dry, because it is covered with
a wooden platform, and all the spilled acid flows away under it. The
sulphonated phenol is two-thirds nitrated in a great autoclave, then
blown through a hose into earthenware nitrators, which are covered
with tight, heavy lids. There is in each lid an opening just large
enough for the hose, and each is connected with a main exhaust pipe
running to the roof. From these the picric acid is pumped out to be
washed and filtered in great tanks. There were absolutely no nitrous
fumes there at the time the place was visited, and in case of a “ boil
over ” they start a fan in the roof. This is also used in hot weather
for ventilation. In winter warm air is driven in. The criticism to
be made of this place is th at the men work in two shifts—a day shift
of 11 hours and a night shift of 13, changing every two weeks.
Such long hours should not obtain in work th at exposes the men to
One very good plant uses the following m ethod: The nitrating is
carried on in a large building with a brick floor sloping to a drain.
W arm air is driven in through large pipes which end about 10 feet
from the floor and goes up through windows in the roof. In summer
cool air is driven in. Nitration is done in tightly closed kettles,
each with a fume pipe and an exhaust, and above each is a feed tank
for phenol and one for acid. A fter nitration the product is drawn
through pipes into water, boiled, and recrystallized; but at no point
is it exposed to the air. From the washers it drops into a filter, is
washed, and then taken to the drying house, with about 20 per cent
of moisture in it. There are 24 such nitrators.
So far only the danger of nitrogen-oxide poisoning in the making
of picric acid has been considered, but there are other dangers.
Nitric acid is handled, and there are the same risks of pipes leaking,
connections breaking, acid spattering or spilling as were described in
connection with the making of guncotton. In addition to this there



is danger from the picric acid itself. Guncotton manufacture begins
and ends with a harmless substance, but picric-acid manufacture
begins with a poison, phenol, and ends with one. In a nitrocellulose
plant less than one-third of the men employed may be exposed to
the danger of poisoning; in a picric-acid plant practically all are
exposed to some form of poisoning.
; Usually about 10 per cent of moisture is left in the picric acid,
and it is packed and shipped in this partly moist form, but occasion­
ally it is dried, all but about two-tenths of 1 per cent of the water
driven out, before packing. When this is done there is much more
trouble from picric-acid itch among the packers and from irritation
of nose, throat, and bronchial tubes.
The drying houses of one such place may be described as follows:
“ These are small separate houses, with wide shelves, glass covered,
on which picric acid is spread thinly, two shelves about 3 feet wide
running around three sides of the room. The men working here
brush the dry picric acid off the shelves into a receptacle, which is
about on a level with the lower shelf, but 2^ feet below the upper
one, so that the powder must fall down and much dust rises when
this happens. The men work with long-handled brushes, using them
very carefully, but even so it is impossible to avoid raising some
dust. I went into one where two men were working. One was
sweeping the floor. He had tied a handkerchief over his mouth
and nose and wore goggles. The other man was dumping the dry
powder into a screen. The air was so choking and irritating th at
in less than two minutes my mouth was full of the bitter taste and
my eyes running and my nose and throat smarting. I t was very
hot weather, and the powder clung to my skin so that the next day
a mild 4itc h 5 developed over the exposed part of my throat—a burn­
ing, itching, reddened dermatitis with tiny papules, which later on
scaled. There are three drying houses and a separate house for
weighing where six men work, all dyed canary yellow. There are
no exhausts.” This plant is equipped with excellent shower baths,
for strict bodily cleanliness is the only way to prevent dermatitis,
which may be serious enough to incapacitate a man if he be

In six of the factories that make picric acid the phenol needed for
it is also manufactured, and in one that does not make picric, phenol
is made. The methods used in these places involve the danger of
benzol poisoning, o f poisoning from sulphuric acid or sulphur
dioxide, sometimes burns from caustic soda, as well as danger from
the phenol itself.



The first step is to sulphonate pure benzol with fuming sulphuric
acid to form benzol-sulphonic acid. This is done in closed cast-iron
kettles, and the work may be quite safe or fumes of benzol may be
allowed to escape to a dangerous extent. The vapors of the benzol
are supposed to pass over to a cooler or condenser and then back to
the sulphonator again. In one factory the whole sulphonating de­
partm ent was full of the odor of mirbane (nitrobenzol), caused by
the sulphuric acid not being pure, but having had nitric acid added
to keep it from freezing, which formed nitrobenzol.
The benzol-sulphonic acid is run into a liming tank, where it is
cooled and neutralized or made faintly alkaline. This is a danger
point and there should always be provision for carrying off the
fumes. Two fatal cases of benzol poisoning occurred in the sulphon­
ating department of a phenol plant in the fall of 1916, and their
occurrence has been explained on the following ground: When there
is not enough acid added to the sulphonating kettle sulphonation will
be incomplete and a residue of unchanged benzol will remain. Then
when this is run into the hot liming vat the free benzol will volatilize
at once and poison the surrounding air. The way to avoid this danger
is to stop the agitator in the sulphonator and let the charge stand
till the free benzol has collected on to p ; then through a vent placed
somewhat above the bottom of the sulphonator the charge is run
into the liming vat, but the top layer of unchanged benzol is left
behind, to be sulphonated with the next charge.
From the liming vat the liquid goes through filters to get rid of the
sulphate of lime, and if this is done in ordinary filter presses the
room is generally very wet and dirty. The clear liquid, containing
the calcium salt of benzol-sulphonic acid, is led to a tub where it is
treated with sodium carbonate to form the sodium salt and get rid
of the remaining calcium as calcium carbonate. This is then evapo­
rated to dryness and a fine white powder results—sodium-benzolsulphonate. This goes to a fusion building where it is added little
by little to an autoclave, in which is melted sodium hydrate—caustic
soda. This is dusty work and the men doing it. wear goggles and tie
cloths over their faces.
The sodium phenolate is allowed to solidify in iron pans, from
which it must be broken and crushed and dug out, and here, too,
goggles and protection for mouth and nose are needed, for the salt
is said to cause as severe burns as does pure phenol. Sulphuric acid
is then added to liberate the crude phenol, and at this stage there is
a copious evolution of sulphur dioxide gases, which are most irritat­
ing when no means are provided for carrying them off.

The phenol may be separated from the soda liquid, if it is given
time to cool thoroughly, by gravity only, but if the work must be hur­



ried, benzol is used to extract it, and then removed by distilling and
used again. This introduces a second danger of benzol poisoning.
The various dangers which may be encountered in such a plant
were almost all exemplified in one large factory, visited on a hot,
humid day in July.
“ In the sulphonating building are not only the sulphonators, but
the great open washing tanks, hot and steaming, filter presses drip­
ping all over the floor, which is slippery from the water and
powdered over with dust in dry spots, and machinery so crowded
that a visitor has great difficulty dodging belts and getting about.
The odor of benzol from the sulphonators is very irritating. It w as
admitted that the men often got 4benzol jags.’ Later two men died
o f acute benzol poisoning in this room. (See p. 26.)

“ As we left this building and came out' into the open we met a
blast of air from the acidulating kettles in the next building, heavy
with sulphur dioxide fumes. All four in the party were 6knocked
o u t’ in a few seconds, eyes burning and tearful, so th at we were
almost blinded and stumbled along trying to get to clear air, but quite
choked by the time we did escape from the fumes. The feeling w as
as of a stream of fire running down the throat and windpipe. These
escaping fumes, white and thick, could be seen coming from two
discharge pipes in the roof of the two-story building, and the men
were doing their best to keep to the windward of them.
“ Inside this building we found caustic soda piled in great un­
covered heaps on a floor so wet that pools of melted soda lay in every
hollow. The men go to and fro, wheeling caustic soda in open
barrows, into which they have shoveled it. They are not protected
in any way against caustic burns. On asking about goggles a search
was instituted, and finally one pair was produced with rubber flaps.
Our guide said that one of the men was under treatment at the time
for a badly inflamed eye, but he was not sure the caustic was re­
Besides the two fatal cases of benzol poisoning mentioned, there
have been three cases of acute bronchitis, with temperatures running
up to about 101° and 102° F., treated in a near-by hospital. The men
were said to have inhaled sulphuric fumes. No. real medical care is
provided in this plant, and these cases were discovered only through
the records of the coroner and those of the hospital. O f course, many
more must have occurred which escaped notice.
None of the five other phenol plants had nearly so many dangerous
features as this one, though one of them had a very decided odor of
benzol in the sulphonating room, and the air in the room where crude
phenol was skimmed from open vats was far too full of phenol fumes.
In another plant there were very irritating fumes of sulphur dioxide,
because they were using a residue rich in sodium sulphite in place



of caustic soda for fusion. In another plant an accident occurred,
which might easily give rise to serious benzol poisoning. The storage
tank, into which the benzol distills in the final process, “ boiled
over,” and benzol spread rapidly over the floor. In less than two
minutes the fumes were strong enough to drive the investigator to
the open air because of dizziness and inability to stand up, but in
some way the spilled stuff had to be cleaned up. This was done
without apparent mishap to the three workmen in the department.
The finished product, phenol, may give rise to severe burns and
may also be absorbed and cause general symptoms. One fatal case
of poisoning is on our records. (See p. 28.)

In the United States Nobel’s process is used for making nitro­
In the nitration of glycerin the reaction is carried on in a steel
vessel provided with mechanical air agitation and cooling coils
through which water or brine is circulated. Mixed nitric and
sulphurie acids are used, for in this reaction as in nitrating cotton,
water is liberated and sulphuric acid must be provided to take it up.
The glycerin, previously warmed to reduce its viscosity, is intro­
duced in one or more fine streams either over the surface of the acid
or below it. Thorough agitation is needed to prevent overheating
of any part of the charge, for this might result in violent decomposi­
tion or “ firing,” and for the same reason the cooling coils are pro­
vided to keep down the temperature.
I f such an accident threatens, the glycerin stream is stopped, the
agitator run faster, and if that does not lower the temperature, the
vent at the bottom of the nitrator is opened and the whole charge
run down to the drowning tank of cool water, which is always built
just under the nitrator and is fitted with mechanical air agitation.
A fter the glycerin has all been added the charge is run into a
lead separating tank, where it is allowed to stand until the acid
and glycerin are separated. This tank has a glass set in the side
so that the progress of separation can be observed. When separa­
tion is complete, as shown by the presence of a distinct line of de­
marcation, the nitroglycerin, which is the upper layer, is drawn
off from a draw cock in the side of the separator to the wash tank
and the waste acid is sent to the acid recovery.
A t the next lower level or in the next building the separated nitro­
glycerin flows to washing and neutralizing tanks of lead or wood,
1 Nitroglycerin is not a n itro compound as are guncotton and picric acid, in which H is
replaced by the radical N 02. I t is a glyceride of nitric acid. Glycerin, C3H5 (OH3) is
an alcohol in which three atom s of H can be replaced by three acid radicals, producing
compound ethers or glycerides. Nitroglycerin, is the trinitroglyceride, C3H5 (0 N 0 2>3.



where it is agitated by air jets, and here, too, fumes of nitroglycerin
are^ given off, and a fine spray of nitroglycerin-laden drops passes
into the air and the contents of the tank may splash on the floor.
From these tanks it flows to storage tanks. Then it is weighed and
run through a hose into small cars for transporting to the “ doping ”
The most usual plan is to have the nitration, separation, washing,
etc., all done in one high room with three levels, the nitrator on the
highest, then the separator, and the washing on the ground level.
In other plants each of these processes is carried on in a small
separate building with about 300 feet between it and the next build­
ing. This is in order to reduce to a minimum the number employed
in any one building, a great advantage in case of explosion. I t is
also an advantage as regards cases of poisoning, for it means that
few men are exposed to air contaminated by fumes or droplets.
A pipe with an exhaust or a jet of compressed air is sometimes
placed in the nitrating room just over the discharge from the sepa­
rator to the w ashing tanks. Ventilation in the triple buildings is
usnally fairly good. In the separate ones it is abundant. All these
factories must be kept scrupulously clean, and there is no dust, but
the men do get more or less nitroglycerin on their persons. They
use cloths to wipe up splashes and to wipe the end of the supply hose
from the storage tank, and these cloths soon get saturated.
Yet nitroglycerin is certainly the least dangerous of the explosives,
if one considers illness, not accident. Nitrous fumes may arise from
defective supply pipes, but the process itself does not involve their
production. Another great advantage is the custom of allowing as
few men as possible to stay in any of the buildings. Nitroglycerin
is itself a poison, but one of the least harm ful encountered in the
making of explosives. (See p. 48.)
Washing facilities are provided for nitroglycerin men only in
the best managed plants. In many there is nothing but a cold-water
hydrant or perhaps the mountain stream flowing down the valley in
which the plant is built.

There were eight factories visited in which trinitrotoluol is manu­
factured or made into charges for high explosive shells. A ninth
had been nitrating toluol up to a short time before, when it was de­
stroyed by an explosion, but it was still possible to obtain full in­
formation as to cases of illness that had occurred among the men
working there. This report, therefore, covers five factories where
toluol was nitrated and four in which it was pressed and molded into



Trinitrotoluol,1 called triton and TNT in the United States, and
trotyl and TNT in England, is a comparatively new explosive in
this country. I t was manufactured first as an explosive in Italy, in
1907. A t the outbreak of the war only one American plant was mak­
ing it, but very soon additional factories were hastily erected, both
for the nitration of toluol and for the preparation of high explosive
charges. The processes of manufacture as well as the effects of tri­
nitrotoluol on the workmen were unfamiliar to the men engaged in
the manufacture and undoubtedly there was much illness in the be­
ginning caused by dust and by escaping fumes. Since then there
have been great improvements in the mechanical equipment of all
these plants, resulting in less hand work, less fume, less leaking and
boiling over, and accidents of all kinds, better provision for personal
cleanliness, all of which diminish the cases of poisoning.
Exhaustion over and around planing and boring and reaming ma­
chines, exhausts over melting pots, mechanical stirrers for melting
pots, bubbling fountains of drinking water, excellent wash houses,
and many other good features were pointed out as newly installed im­
provements of which the management was justly proud, but which,
of course, betrayed the fact th at in the early days of the factory
there were many danger spots.
The eight plants now working employ about 2,500 to 3,000 per­
sons in occupations which bring them directly in contact with triton,
in handling it, or in breathing dust or fume-laden air. Only 30 to
40 of them are women and these are all employed in one plant.
The production of trinitrotoluol from toluol is accomplished by
the action of a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids and may be done
in a one-stage nitration or by two or three successive steps. In the
latter case it is not necessary to wash the intermediate product, the
mono and dinitrotoluol, but the mixture is simply allowed to sepa­
rate in the nitrator, the acid drawn off and the fresh nitrating acid
for the next stage added.
Nitration is carried out in an iron nitrator, the mixed acid being
run gradually into the toluol or partly nitrated toluol, as the case
may be, and the temperature being controlled by coils in the nitrator
through which water or steam is passed. The nitrator is equipped
with efficient mechanical agitators. Chemists say that if during the
early stages of the process the acid used is too dilute, the resulting
compound will be largely phenylnitromethane, C6 r, CH (N 0 2) 3,
and it is probable that some of the illness that has occurred in the
course of such work is traceable to this compound. One chemist who
1 Toluol is m ethyl benzol, CeHsCHs. In the process of nitratio n hydrogen atoms are
replaced by the nitro radical, N 02. T rinitrotoluol is therefore C6H 2 (N 0 2 ) 3CII3.

92776°—Bull. 219—17------6



was doing experimental work suffered rather severely from symptoms
which he attributed to this rather than to TNT.
In all the plants visited nitration is carried on in tightly closed
kettles, and drowning tanks are so placed that in case of decomposi­
tion the charge could be run into water. A fter nitration is complete
the charge may be allowed to separate either in the nitrator or in a
separate tank, the waste acid separating out on the bottom. The tri­
nitrotoluol which is at a temperature above its melting point is run
off as a liquid into the drowning tank where it is washed with suc­
cessive washes in order to completely eliminate acid. Since the melt­
ing point of triton is close to 80° C. it is possible by using water above
this temperature to m aintain the trinitrotoluol in the molten condi­
tion and to wash it as a liquid in the same manner as nitroglycerin
is washed.
After the trinitrotoluol is thoroughly neutral the molten material
is run into cold water with vigorous agitation where it solidifies in
a granular form.

In other plants the product from the nitrators is allowed to flow
out into crystallizing tanks where the waste acid settles and the
triton forms a thick crust on top. When this hot liquid runs out
from the nitrator there is opportunity for fumes to escape.
In one such plant where the separating pans for the trinitrotoluol
are very large—about 10 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 4 feet deep—a
great hood is lowered while the mixture from the nitrators is flow­
ing down. The pipe from the nitrator passes through an opening
in the hood. This is really done more to prevent splashing than
with the idea th at fumes will be very bad. The solidified triton is
broken up and shoveled into cars for the washers, and the portion
which has splashed over the inner side of the hood must be broken
off, too. This handling or collecting is work which involves risk of
poisoning, especially if the product contain some of the lower n itra­
A much better arrangement was seen in another plant where the
separating pans are covered all the time, and there is a fume pipe
running from each to the roof. There is no breaking and shoveling
here. The solid triton is melted by driving in steam, and it runs
down to the washers on the story below. This method, so much bet­
ter as far as the workmen are concerned, is said not to be applicable
to TNT of high grade, of 81° C. melting point, which must therefore
be chipped out.
Crude triton contains more or less dinitrotoluol, and sometimes,
if the toluol was not pure, dinitrobenzol as well. This last is de­
cidedly more poisonous than any of the nitrotoluols.1 As to the
1 See White and Hay, in London Lancet, 1901, vol. 2, p. 582,



comparative poisonousness of the higher and lower nitration prod­
ucts of toluol, the British experience—confirmed by tests—goes to
show that crude TNT containing some dinitro is no more toxic than
the pure. On the other hand, American physicians who have charge
of men in nitrating works maintain th at more cases of poisoning
develop in the dinitro department. This may be because the dinitro
is more volatile than the trinitro, and because it is semiliquid at
ordinary temperature and more easily absorbed by the skin.
The breaking and shoveling seems to give rise to very little dust,
for the stuff is fairly moist and pasty, about like lumps of maple
sugar. I t may be that the illness which undoubtedly does take
place here may be caused by volatilization at ordinary temperature,
if there is dinitrotoluol present. Or it may be caused by handling,
though there seems little need for handling. The product of first
nitration, when the process is 'done in two stages, is at first half
liquid, and though it soon solidifies there is always some oily sub­
stance left which must be removed by centrifuging. There is a good
deal of trouble from fumes or a fine spray from this centrifuge,
unless an exhaust suction draft is supplied to carry it off.
W ashing the triton is done with hot water in great closed kettles
with an opening in the top through which the men dump the frag­
ments from the crystalizing tanks. The triton goes on to the
grainers—open chasers—such as one sees used for grinding paint in
oil. These should be furnished with hoods, for they are heated to
drive off the water and there may be volatilization of the contents.
Blending comes next, in an enormous bolting machine, which dis­
charges either into a screen or into a bin from which it must be
shoveled into the screen. Then, after passing through the screen, it
is packed by hand into paper-lined barrels.
These last processes, blending, screening, and packing, are all
somewhat dusty, especially as some of the stuff is always spilled on
the floor and ground up by the feet of passers-by. A very fine dust
can be discovered over unnoticed projecting surfaces in such rooms,
even when one can not perceive dust in the air. I t is generally
acknowledged that there is risk of dust poisoning in this depart­
ment. Sweeping with long-handled brushes goes on all day (except
in the one plant where p vacuum cleaner is used), but it seems to be
done cautiously and not to stir up much dust, even though it is done
dry. Many of the men engaged in breaking up the TNT in the
separating tanks and in screening, packing, and so on wear cloths
over mouth and nose. A few further protect themselves with gog­
gles. Rubber gloves and boots are furnished by the companies.
Sweepings, scraps carried off with the wash water, spent acid, etc.,
are all collected in lead tanks, there mixed with water, cooled, and
the TNT crystallized out. There is usually abundance of steam



coming off from these tanks, but it is said to carry only an infini­
tesimal percentage of TNT.
In nitrating toluol there is the usual danger of decomposition, or
a 4 boil-over ” or leaking acid pipes, with the discharge of nitrous
fumes, or even of nitrotoluol fumes from hot liquid. Out of a list
of 10 cases of poisoning in plants nitrating toluol, the histories of
which were given with a fair degree of fullness, there are 6 stated
to have been poisoned because of an unusual exposure, something
not encountered in the ordinary course of work. One, a fatal case,
was a carpenter making repairs; another w as an electrician, also
repairing; two very severe cases, one of them fatal, came as a result
of cleaning out a tank which had been full of dinitrotoluol. The
fifth case, a machinist, was severely poisoned by a “ boil-over ” from
a n itra to r; and the sixth, by fumes from a leaking pipe.
One factory was visited where the processes, instead of all being
carried on in the same large building, are separated in small units,
with each process in a little building by itself. There are seven such
units, each with a nitrating building, a washing and screening build­
ing, and a building for packing. There are several other distinctive
features in this factory. The separating tanks are done away with,
for separation takes place in the nitrator, which has vents at different
levels so that acid and triton can be drawn off separately. The acid
goes to a receiving tank, furnished with a fume pipe to the roof.
The triton goes through a pipe line to an open tank in a shed, where
steam is run in to remove free acid; it is then pumped to a closed
tank for thorough washing, agitated by streams of air. I t is crystal­
lized in the usual way, the chaser being covered with a hood, and
then screened and packed.

In the four factories where TNT is melted, purified if necessary,
molded, and filled into shells there is fully as much danger of poison­
ing as there is in the nitrating of toluol, if not more. Indeed, it
would seem that the filling of shells, either by pressing, which is
very dust productive, or by molding, which involves fumes, may be
much more poisonous work than making the triton unless great
precautions are used.
Charges for shells may be pressed or molded. For the former
kind of shell the triton powder is weighed and then put into a hy­
draulic press. Although this weighing and pressing does not seem
to a casual observer to be attended with much production of dust,
it is said by those who know to give rise to more triton poisoning
than any other work. Not only is there dust from the powder, but
there is a good deal of direct contact from handling, and TN T is



absorbed through the skin perhaps more than in any other way. The
men who work here have hands stained a bright yellow in spite of
the fact that all wear gloves. In one plant two young lads were
pressing charges, fortunately an unusual sight.
These pressed charges are trimmed on a lathe, by men, and usually
in the pressing room. Then they are dipped in melted paraffin and
wrapped in paper with caps, and varnished. All these last processes
are, in one factory, carried on by women in rooms separate from the
pressing and trimming. In the other factory men do the work.
The final wrapping of paraffined charges and varnishing the outside
is harmless work, because the triton is safely coated over, but the
paraffining and inspecting is much more dangerous than it seems to
an outsider. The inspector weighs the paraffined charge, and if she
finds it too heavy she must scrape off part of the paraffin and with
a knife or scissors cut away enough triton to make the weight
correct. The girls who do this all wear heavy gloves and are careful
about cleanliness of the person, more so than are the men, because
they dislike the disfiguring dye on the skin and the still more dis­
figuring eruption th at may come from triton dust; yet, they, too*
suffer from triton poisoning as a result, apparently, of the insig­
nificant amount of dust encountered in paraffining and inspecting.
More charges are made by molding than by pressing, because the
latter is the method used by the Russians and also for the mixed
shells called for in some British contracts. In the molding or pour­
ing method there is iiot so much dust as in pressing, but there are
more fumes. TNT melts at 80° C., and is not supposed to volatilize
under 180° C., but fumes are easily perceptible around kettles not
nearly at so high a temperature as that. I t is also shown by ex­
perience that if melting kettles are left open and men work near
them they may become poisoned. In one of these shell-filling works
the poisoning caused by open kettles was evident enough to lead the
management to place the large melting pot in a room quite separate
from the pouring and to allow only one man to work there. In
another there was a row of open kettles along the inner wall of a
long shed, the outer wall of which had wide doors and windows. I t
had been hoped that this abundant natural ventilation would be
enough to do away with any trouble from the kettles, but experience
showed that it was not. The tops of the kettles were about 3 feet
in diameter and they were only half covered, for one of the two
half lids had to be taken off to allow the tender to watch as the
kettle turned and churned up the charge of triton, and also to allow
him to feed in more triton from time to time. The illness of the
men here was probably caused by the fumes from these kettles and,
to a certain extent, by the dust spread as the kettles were charged.



This triton dust is worse when scrap is being melted than when
TN T as it comes from the nitrator is used. In any case there is some
dust. One man was feeding very carefully, with a flour scoop.
When the box was empty he lifted it up and knocked it against the
side of the kettle to get out the last particles. He said he was follow­
ing orders in using a scoop, but in his opinion it would be better to
empty the whole box at once, for though it would make a great deal
of dust it would not last long, while in this way it took a long time,
and a little puff of dust came with each scoopful. He was suffering
from a mild form of poisoning, as shown by the jaundiced tint of
eyes and face and his digestive symptoms and loss of strength. The
only way to prevent danger at this point is to have an exhaust within
the kettle strong enough to pull in the dust and not let it escape.
Other sources of fumes are the open kettles for melting scrap and
for melting out the “ sink heads,” for they may be left uncov­
ered even when the molding kettles are well covered. The best
managed factory which was visited has a very excellent system
for preventing fumes. The five melting pots are charged and then
tightly closed and not opened till another charging. A fume, pipe
to the roof carries off the vapors, an exhaust fan supplying the draft,
and upon the charging floor the air was perfectly clear. Stirring is
mechanical. Down below where the melted triton flows out there is
another exhaust.
As melted triton comes out from the kettles it is received in pails
or tubs and is stirred for 20 or 30 minutes till it cools to about 76° F.
and begins to crystallize, when it is ready for pouring. Fumes
breathed in the course of this stirring were responsible for one death
from triton poisoning last summer (see p. 39). One can see delicate
clouds of vapor rise while the men stir, and also if later on they stir
the stuff after it is in the mold.
Molders get their supply from the tubs and spill a good deal on
the floor while they do it. This hardens and has to be chopped off
and swept up. As they pour the melted triton into shells some of it
runs down over the outer surface and must be cleaned off by chipping
with wooden sticks or bronze knives, the men blowing or brushing
away the fragments. This dusty and dangerous work is made un­
necessary in some plants by the simple device of covering the shell
with paper held in place by an elastic band. O r a tin funnel, called
a sink head, may be inserted in the neck and enough triton poured in
to fill it too. I t is really to press out bubbles from the liquid triton
th at this sink head is used, but incidentally it prevents smearing of
the shell.
A third way of making changes is by pouring the melted TN T not
directly into the shells, but into molds, then after hardening they
are taken from the molds, bored, planed, and paraffined. The con­



sistency of such a change is about like that of hard maple sugar, and
there is no light dust from it. I t would seem as if the unusual amount
of sickness attendant on work of this sort must come from handling
the charges, from skin absorption, especially as crude triton is used
and this contains some dinitrotoluol, which is more easily absorbed
through the skin than is the tritnitro. There may even be some of
that very poisonous compound, dinitrobenzol, if the toluol origi­
nally contained some benzol.
A fter the shells are filled, the danger from fumes is over and the
danger from dust reappears. The solid TNT charge must be bored
to allow of the insertion of a detonator, it must be u faced,” i. e., the
neck must be drilled down and the screw neck of the shell must be
cleaned unless it has been protected during pouring by a funnel, and
the outer surface must be cleaned and polished. All this is dusty and
is sometimes done in quite dangerous ways. I t is usual to protect the
boring and planing machines to a certain extent by means of hoods
with exhausts and a down draft. Sometimes the hood is double, an
inner one to catch the coarse powder, an outer one to take care of the
finer and fluffier powder. The dust may be carried to a dust chamber
and discharged into water.
The trouble with all exhaust hoods is that they get out of order
easily and then afford little or no protection. Leaky “ collars,” as the
' workmen call them, are very common, and in the rush of work many
days may pass before they are repaired, and meantime the escaping
dust may have caused poisoning in the man at the machine.
The best arrangement was seen in two factories, though it was in
use in only one. Each drilling machine is surrounded with a half­
moon shaped barricade of 6-inch concrete running up to the ceiling.
The driller puts the shell in place, then immediately steps to the pro­
tected side of the screen and from there starts the machine. A fter
the hole is drilled he stops the machine, still from his protected posi­
tion. I t is a moment’s work to take off one shell and put another in
place. The drills are along both walls of the room, and the bar­
ricades shut them off from the central passage where the men are.
Dust from the boring is caught in closed receptacles. This operation
makes the detonator bore, removes excess from the neck of the shell,
and drills the charge down to the shoulder.
Cleaning the threads in the neck of the shell when it has not been
'protected during pouring is dusty work and so is cleaning out the
bore for the detonator with a long, narrow brush which brings out a
very fine, light dust. The factory which uses vacuum cleaning also
uses suction for the removal of dust from the bored shells. Im per­
fect, rejected shells must be emptied out, and this may be done in
very dusty ways. In one otherwise excellent plant this was the only
really bad spot, the place where shells with faulty bores were bored



down and the fragments blown out with compressed air. In another
factory they drop the imperfect shells into a tank of hot water and
let the charge melt just enough to slip out easily, which seems a
good m ethod; at least, it is not dusty.
The British seem to have had much experience with amatol, a mix­
ture of crude triton and ammonium nitrate. They state that “ of
cases showing jaundice, about 27 per cent have arisen from pure
TNT, 67 per cent from amatol and 6 per cent from ammonal.”
Amatol has 40 to 60 per cent ammonium nitrate, ammonal has 20
per cent. However, we are not told what proportion of persons are
employed in each sort of work, and it may be that most of the shells
in England are filled with amatol. Prosser White, experimenting on
himself, was unable to produce a characteristic dermatitis with any­
thing but the pure TNT. W ith ammonium nitrate alone or with a
mixture of the two he got no reaction at all.

Naphthalene is nitrated in one plant among those visited in the
course of this inquiry. This nitration is carried on in a building
that was formerly used for nitrating glycerin, in a closed nitrating
kettle connected w ith a fume pipe and provided with the usual
drowning tank for emergency use. Separation takes place in the ni­
trator, and the mixture of mononaphthalene and diriitronaphthalene
is piped to the next building where it is first washed with cold water
and then neutralized in hot alkaline water. A t this point it may give
off vapors and these hot tanks are consequently covered and provided
with fume pipes and exhausts. The dark reddish brown liquid is
piped to a drying house, where part of the liquid is got rid of, and it
is filled into steel containers for shipment.
The points at which fumes escape a re : In nitrating, where because
the work is as yet somewhat experimental, the process must be
watched continually; the second separator when the fluid is h o t; and
in filling receptacles. There is also the same danger of a “ boil-over ”
as in the nitrating of toluol.

These substances are of some importance in the manufacture of
explosives, for nitrobenzol is a step in the making of anilin and
anilin is a step in the manufacture of diphenylamin and of two
high explosives which, on account of the expense of manufacture,
have so far only a limited use in this country, tetranitranilin also
known as TNA and tetranitromethylanilin, or tetryl. The former
is said to be manufactured in only one place in the United States and



it was foilnd in use in only one. Tetryl was being made in two fac­
tories. Nitrobenzol, anilin, and diphenylamin were made in one.
There is not so much risk of poisoning in the nitrating of benzol as
in the subsequent reduction of the nitrobenzol to anilin, because
there is less opportunity for fumes to escape. Nitration is carried
on in a large steel retort with a mechanical stirring device and cool­
ing coils. The charge of benzol is run in by gravity from the weigh­
ing tank and then the mixed acids, nitric and sulphuric, are added.
In some places these acids are mixed and kept in partially closed re­
ceptacles and the fumes are allowed to escape. A fter about four or
five hours agitation in the retort nitration is complete and the nitro­
benzol is washed and neutralized.
Anilin is produced by reducing this nitrobenzol by means of iron
filings and hydrochloric acid. This reduction is carried out in a
cast-iron reducer, the temperature being controlled by the rate of
addition of the different materials and by blowing steam into the
solution if necessary to hasten the reaction. The reducer is equipped
with a plow which turns slowly and prevents the separated iron
sludge from solidifying in the bottom of the reducer. At the tem­
perature of operation steam is evolved from the reaction mass, which
carries with it considerable quantities of anilin. These vapors pass
through a condenser and are returned to the reducer.
A fter reduction is completed steam is turned into the reducer and
the anilin, which volatilizes with the steam, is distilled out, the con­
densed distillate is allowed to cool and settle and anilin, being
immiscible with water, separates out. There is a chance for anilin
fumes to escape where the filings go in, and also from the “ sludge,”
with the iron filings at the bottom of the reducer, for this flows out
or must be shoveled out frequently. The anilin is distilled and re­
distilled to purify it, and from time to time samples are drawn off to
be tested, by sight and smell, to see how the process is going on.
Then it is drawn off into drums from the stills. In the course of
much of this work anilin may spill on the floor and the men step
into a pool and have their shoes wet with it. Or they may spill
some on their clothing. Anilin poisoning follows skin absorption
probably more promptly than absorption of fumes by breathing.
Another source of poisoning is repair work, necessitating entering
a reducer which has not been thoroughly cleaned out, and thorough
cleaning is very difficult.

The first step in the manufacture of tetryl consists in the for­
mation of dimethylanilin by treating anilin with methyl alcohol
in the presence of sulphuric or hydrochloric acid. A fter diges­


B U L L E T IN OF T H E BUR®&][f


tion the product is washed with water to remove the excess alcohol
and purified by redistillation.
The dimethylanilin is sulphonated by treatm ent with concen­
trated sulphuric acid in an iron tank equipped with stirrer. The
sulphonated product is nitrated by being run into mixed acid—
nitric and sulphuric acids. The tetryl or tetranitromethylanilin
separates out in solid form in the nitrator.
The charge, after completion, is drowned in a large quantity of
water and the separated solid product washed several times to
eliminate all free acid. An enormous evolution of nitrous fumes
takes place when the tetryl is drowned, orange clouds rising to
the heavens and being visible for miles around. There seems to
be much difficulty in preventing this, and, so far, all that is done
is for the men to run outside and wait till the fumes subside.
A fter thorough washing, the tetryl is dried in the same way as
picric acid, except th at less heat is required—only 65° to 70° F.
as against 70° to 80° F. for picric acid. The dust in the drying room
is quite as bad.

Diphenylamin is prepared by digesting anilin and anilin hydro­
chloride in an autoclave under pressure. Reaction forms hydro­
chloric acid, so th at the autoclave used must be of material which
will resist the action of hydrochloric acid at the high temperatures
A t the end of the digestion the product is washed several times
w ith hot dilute hydrochloric acid, the temperature used being suf­
ficient to maintain the diphenylamin in the molten condition and
perm it of its more thorough washing. The hydrochloric acid dis­
solves the unchanged anilin from the diphenylamin. For further
purification the diphenylamin, after the completion of the wash­
ing, is distilled from a still heated by direct fire.
In the one plant in which this was done the whole process took
place in a closed system.

The making of this very powerful explosive is attended with
a constant danger of accidental explosion, and this is true to a
less extent of the handling of fulminate in filling percussion caps.
This leads to a strict avoidance of dust, a scrupulous cleanliness,
and a separation as much as possible of different processes, all of
which measures tend also to diminish the risk of occupational



§ s !^ W ^ M A N U FA C TU R IN G .


Two plants were visited in which fulminate is made. In one^
the smaller, all the preparation of the compound is done out of
doors, at a distance from the buildings. They select a day when
the wind is favorable, so that fumes will not sweep over the grounds,
and erect a very simple equipment. The mercuric nitrate which
has been made by mixing metallic mercury and. nitric acid and let­
ting the mixture stand for 24 hours, is poured over alcohol in
large glass “ balloons.” Immediately there is an evolution of dense
fumes, first white, then reddish, which fill all the upper part of
the flask. As they subside, crystals of fulminate of mercury can
be seen to have formed along the sides, and the balloon is emptied
into a muslin-covered box which stands in a trough, and water is
run in from a hose to wash off every trace of acid. A t this point
there is always some fume given off. The washed crystals are
collected and carried off to be stored.
In the larger of these two plants all the processes are carried
on inside. The room in which mercury is nitrated is separate
from the fulminate room, and the latter is very high and roomy
and well ventilated. Every effort is made to collect all the by­
products by means of exhausts placed at the point where alcohol
is added to the nitrate and where the balloons are emptied, yet
on a hot day the fumes in this building may be heavy enough to
make work almost impossible. These fumes are very difficult to
analyze, and their make-up is uncertain, but one of the constituents
is certainly ethyl nitrite, formerly much used in the treatment of
fevers under the name of sweet spirits of niter. When condensed
the liquid can be used again with the addition of fresh alcohol.
There is some danger of mercury poisoning in the making of the
nitrate. Tiny globules of mercury were scattered all over the n itrat­
ing apparatus in one of these plants. Even greater is the danger in
recovering mercury from the water used to wash the balloons. This
liquor yields a a sludge ” or “ mud,” which may contain as much as
30 pounds of mercury in 140 pounds, and when it is distilled the
mercury is volatilized, but, of course, every effort is made to prevent
it from-escaping.
Fulminate is made into charges for percussion caps, either in dry
or moist form, the latter being decidedly preferable from our point
of view, since there is no dust. When it is handled dry, excessive
precautions are needed to prevent explosions, and there is very little
actual contact with the powder, except in the initial weighing and
the mixing with potassium chlorate. Both these processes are car­
ried on in separate rooms and by one man only. Other processes—■
weighing charges, loading, and pressing—are so arranged that a man
standing behind a heavy steel or a thick concrete barricade can con­



trol the mechanism by means of a lever, guiding himself by watching
a mirror fixed above the machine. The substances added to the
fulminate to make up the charge are none of them harmful, consist­
ing of chlorate of potash, antimony sulphide, ground glass, some­
times sulphur.
The factories manufacturing small arms commonly fill their own
caps, but do not manufacture the fulminate. Many men and women
are employed here in work which exposes them somewhat to the
action of fulminate-laden dust, though here, too, there is enough
risk of explosion to lead to avoidance of unnecessary dust and to a
certain am ount'of segregation of some processes. There is a fairly
large amount of fulminate dermatitis among the workers who do
the loading and pressing and inspect the primed shells, but no more
serious troubles so far as we were able to discover.

The authorities on explosives describe many different ammonium
nitrate explosives, but in the course of this investigation we found
it in use only as a constituent of dynamite and of a mixed charge for
high explosive shells.
I t is made by the action of ammonia on nitric acid and as a usual
thing most of the processes are carried on in the open under a shed
th at allows free escape for the disagreeable fumes of ammonia and
pyridin bodies, fumes th at are very heavy at certain stages of the
reaction. I f the work were carried on indoors some harm m ight
result from them, but in all the five plants where ammonium nitrate
was being manufactured there was abundant provision for the
escape of the gases. Once neutralization is complete there is no fear
of fumes, and the subsequent crystallization may be carried on
indoors in great open chasers.
The real danger to be looked for in making ammonium nitrate is
an accident either to the supply of aqua ammonia or to the supply
of nitric acid, for these are both powerful, fuming poisons.

Fumes.—Since all the dangerous fumes evolved in the course of
the processes described above are heavier than air, it follows that
an efficient system of fume removal must be based on a supply of
air from above and a vent at the floor level. The air driven in
should be heated in winter and cooled in summer. Two of the large
companies have very excellent systems of this kind in factories mak­
ing smokeless powder, carbolic acid, and trinitrotoluol. Hudson
warns against sending the air in jets or spurts, for that stirs up dust



and vapors. He also calls attention to the unusual difficulty of
supplying artificial ventilation in this industry, since the type of
fan ordinarily used for suction is of metal and may produce, by
friction, sparks which might cause explosions.
Hoods should be placed over all vapor-producing fluids at every
point where vapors may rise and as close to the point of origin as
possible. Many hoods are installed in explosive works that are of
little if any value, because the draft is not strong enough to carry
off fumes. Of course, a strong lid over a fuming liquid will usually
hold in the vapors, but such lids almost always have an opening
large enough to serve as a peep hole, at least, if not for feeding or
stirring, and this also makes a strong draft necessary if the vapors
are not to escape.
The superintendents of the newer plants usually have respirators
provided for men working where there are poisonous vapors, and
some foremen take much trouble to persuade the men to wear them.
The British Government advises against respirators for this pur­
pose, saying that they are useless and should never be depended o n ;
they can not keep out gases. Esch ,1 the German authority, says the
same thing. “ Such a mask would be really effective only if i t could
be so charged with a chemical as to remove the noxious gas from the
inspired air. This is very difficult of practical application; only a
small amount of the protective chemical substance could be used and
saturation would soon occur. Furthermore, most chemical reactions
would proceed too slowly to catch the gas passing by with the speed
of forced respirations. Finally there is, as a m atter of fact, no
really effective chemical neutralization known. Solutions of soda
combine with nitrous oxide only ineffectively; possibly a spray of
soda solution might be more effective.”
This spray has been used in pot nitrating sheds with apparent
success, a solution of ammonium carbonate being atomized and
sprayed into the air. In these sheds the crystals of ammonium nitrate
resulting from the reaction with the nitrogen oxides could be seen
on the walls and roof.
Cheesecloth pads of many thicknesses tied over mouth and nose
undoubtedly save the men employed in nitrating from much dis­
comfort in the ordinary course of work. B ut for accidents accom­
panied by the evolution of large quantities of nitrous fumes, air
helmets must be provided and their use insisted upon. They should
also be supplied and used whenever repair must be made necessi­
tating entrance into a still or tank which has held a volatile poison,
even if the tank has been well washed out.
1 V ero ffen tlich u n g en a u s dem G ebiete des M a rin e -S a n ita tsw ese n s, F eb ru ary, 1915. Ab­
str a c te d by K. O hnesorg, Su rgeon U . S. A., U. S. N a v a l M ed ical B u lle tin , 1916, N o. 4,
V ol. X , p. 625.



A mask which serves to protect against drops of acid that might
cause severe burns has been devised by the du Pont Co. I t is made
of fiber, with eyepieces of cellulose acetate, and it is fastened to a
cap which the man wears in such a way that he can throw it back
easily out of the way when he does not need it, and yet it is there
for instant use at any time.
Dust.—Respirators will keep out dust as they will not gases, yet
there are objections to their use for this purpose also. I f a respira­
tor is dense enough to really shut out the dust, the effort to get enough
air to breathe will be so great as to constitute a real strain on the
man’s heart, especially if he is doing hard work. The British Gov­
ernment recommends the use of respirators in triton works, but
Livingstone-Learmouth and Cunningham 1 found them practically
useless if not harmful. The powdered triton is likely to collect along
the edge, where the skin is moist from pressure, and set up a bad
rash. They also suggest th at the danger of poisoning may be in­
creased by the heat and moisture generated by the respirator. The
one death from triton poisoning among the women under their
charge was in a woman who had always worn a respirator.
Dust must be prevented, not caught in respirators after it is formed.
The chief sources of dangerous dust are in feeding melting pots with
powdered explosives, in cleaning out crystallizing tanks, in planing
and boring explosive shells, in packing dried explosives, and in
sweeping floors. F or the first, a strong draft inside the protective
hood is the proper method of prevention; for the second, melting
out instead of breaking and shoveling; for the third, well-fitting
shields leading to a dust-collecting system, preferably a wet chamber;
and, for the fourth, careful handling and the provision of exhausts.
Sweeping is always done carefully in explosives works because of
the recognized danger of explosion, yet there is danger of dust
inhalation in some of them, especially where triton is handled.
Unfortunately, vacuum cleaning can not be used for most of these
dusts because of their instability or tendency to form dangerously
explosive compounds with metals with which they come in contact.
The one factory which has installed a vacuum cleaner and is using
it with success is engaged in filling shells with triton and collects the
dust made by boring and trimming the shells. When it is impossible
to do away with poisonous dust, the rule must be to make the exposure
as slight as possible, to work the men on short shifts, alternating with
safe employment, and to have specially careful medical supervision
for them.
Men working in poisonous dust must be further protected by full
suits of overalls, such as are worn by men in some of the western lead
smelters when cleaning out flues filled with lead and arsenic dust.

1 London Lancet, Aug. 12, 1916.



The sleeves are long and are close at the wrist, fitting under the cuff
of the glove. The neck is high, and a washable cap pulls down to
meet a thick pad of cheese cloth which covers all the face except the
eyes. Especial attention should be paid to the shoes, which should
not be low, and there should be no possibility of the powder working
its way in through eyelet holes, for this has resulted in distressing
eruptions on the feet. The British authorities advise the provision
of fresh socks every day. American nitric acid and nitration works
supply rubber gloves, aprons, and boots, and sometimes woolen
shirts as well. Overalls are rarely supplied to any class of workmen.
Ample washing facilities are an essential in this industry, and are
very generally supplied. F or men doing dusty work, shower baths
also are necessary. Many employers complain that the men will not
avail themselves of these baths, though they are provided in all the
better plants. I t is very plain th at there are foremen who can make
their men bathe, so it must be something in the construction or
management of the baths th at makes other foremen find it im­
possible. As a matter of fact, whenever one looks closely into the
matter one finds that there is some ground for it when the men ob­
stinately refuse to use shower baths after a patient effort has been
made to persuade them to do so. Sometimes the hot and cold water
are not properly blended and the men have been startled by a
shower of scalding or of freezing cold water. Sometimes the room
is not heated and they have to stand on cold cement instead of
rooden slats. And then it is well to remember that Latin and Slavic
workmen are not accustomed as boys to go in swimming together
and they will resent a lack of privacy which to an Anglo-Saxon is a
m atter of course. These men may refuse to use excellent showers
simply because they are not screened off. Curtains of heavy duck
between the baths remove this objection.
Lunching in rooms where poisons are handled is not at all a rarity
in American explosive works. I t should be forbidden always, and a
lunch room provided, unless, as is very unusual, the plant is near a
cheap restaurant. The best plan is to have the locker room at the
entrance, where the men check in and out. Here the man should be
made to leave his dinner pail with his street clothes. Then next
to this should be the lavatory. As he comes for his dinner pail he
must pass through the lavatory, and here a superannuated or crip­
pled employee may be stationed to see to it that each man washes his
hands and face before leaving the room. A fter that it is immaterial
whether he uses the lunch room or stays out of doors; he is at any
rate free from poisonous dust.
I t seems to be customary in British munition works to provide a
cup of milk or cocoa for the workers when they arrive in the morn­



ing, because the risk of poisoning is lessened by the presence of
food in the stomach. The workers often come from a long way off,
and the women especially are likely to take only a scanty breakfast.
This is also true of many of the foreign workmen in American
plants. They still take only the continental breakfast of bread and
coffee, and sometimes no milk in the coffee. The British works also
have “ canteens” provided in many instances, with hot food served
at noon and at midnight, and sold at cost.
Another point emphasized by the health of munition workers’
committee is the injuriousness of overwork—of excessive fatigue.
In connection with the manufacture of triton, they advise that no
overtime be allowed, the period of exposure be as short as possible,
and if practicable safe work be alternated with dangerous. “ In
some large factories where the number of workers and the nature of
the processes carried on has permitted of systematic alternation
of work on TNT with other work away from it, no cases of toxic
jaundice have been reported. And in others, where on occurrence of
cases alternation has been arranged, the number notified has
Medical care is an absolute necessity in this industry, and is so re­
garded by all but a few careless, indifferent companies. In most
works making explosives there are physicians regularly employed
to treat cases of occupational sickness among the employees, but the
amount of care given varies a good deal and so does the amount of
authority delegated to the physician. Sometimes the doctor comes
only when summoned. This means that he sees the cases of sickness
after they have developed to the point of definite symptoms, or to the
point of attracting the attention of the foreman. The proper
system is to have a regular medical inspection of all the workers em­
ployed in contact with poisons, an inspection that need not take much
time and need not interrupt work at all, unless a suspicious case needs
closer examination.
The doctor should be allowed full freedom to order the removal
from dangerous work of any employee who, in his opinion, shows
signs of absorption of poison. From the histories of many cases
reported to us from TNT works especially, it is very evident that if
the early symptoms of ill health had been heeded, the worker might
have been saved a severe and in some cases fatal poisoning.
As a usual thing there is not much, if any, instruction given the
men in this industry as to how to protect themselves against the
dangers of sickness. Indeed in some plants no instruction at all
seems to be given, perhaps for fear of frightening away the men at a
time when labor is scarce. Men working in a large triton-shell plant
said they had never even been told the stuff was poisonous. On the



other hand, a great guncotton plant has a regular system of instruc­
tion for the force, taking the men according to departments and
giving them lectures in English and in their own languages, explain­
ing the dangers peculiar to the departments in which they work.
So far as possible, these talks are illustrated by stereopticon pictures.
The effect is shown by their report of fume sickness for five months.
The first month there were 266 cases among 660 m en; the fifth month,
24 cases among 621 men.
The measures of protection for workers in poisonous fumes and
dusts are well summed up in the B ritish directions for the manu­
facture of TNT.
“A part from the removal of fumes and dust, to employ workers
over 18 years of age; to make suitable canteen provision so that
workers can obtain good food on factory premises; to eliminate
those showing early signs by frequent medical examination; and
to alternate the work or reduce the length of the sliift, if practicable.”
In the Royal Arsenal the prophylactic measures adopted are as
Only persons in good health, and, as far as practicable, between
the ages of 20 and 50 are employed on TNT.
All workers are inspected by a medical officer once a week.
Special clothing is provided, also veils, respirators, and gauntletted gloves.
Employment is alternated fortnightly.
Mechanical devices are adopted for preventing dust and getting
rid of fumes.
Workers are warned against sleeping in the clothing worn at the
factory and advised to have a complete change of clothing on reach­
ing home.
Facilities are provided for obtaining suitable and sufficient food
at proper intervals. Milk is supplied free on the arrival of the
Washing of hands and face is insisted upon before meals and
before leaving the factory. Neutral soap and individual towels are

In the course of this investigation ample evidence was found of
the success of efforts at the prevention of occupational poisoning in
several plants, but the improvement could not be shown statistically
for lack of records. Recently, however, detailed reports have been
received from three plants which do give just such information.
These factories are engaged in making anilin. in nitrating toluol, and
92776°— Bull. 219—17------ 7



in filling shells with trinitrotoluol by the pouring method. We re­
produce these figures in order to show how the number of cases of
poisoning may be lessened by proper precautions and also how low
may be the rate of sickness from these poisons in a well regulated
The period covered is from July 1 , 1916, to December 31, 1916.
The cases listed here would in some factories escape mention because
many of them were very slight. A “ major case ” is one which neces­
sitated absence from work for one-half day or over; a “ minor case,”
one with a disability of less than one-half day.

per day.


Ju ly .......................................................................................................................
A ugust...........................................................................................................

Number of
cases of
hours of
poisoning. disability.




C A SE S).

A ugust..................................................................................................................





A ugust..................................................................................................................
D ecem ber1..........................................................................................................




i It is suspected that the high rate of disability in December was due to the physical condition of one
of the patients from use of alcoholic stimulants.



of cases.



A ugust........................................................
Novem ber..................................................

1 There were no major cases.



Nitrous fumes poisoning.—For the asthma-like attacks the usual
treatment is that recommended by Hudson of the Du Pont Co.,
namely 15 drops of chloroform shaken up with a tablespoonful of
aromatic spirits of ammonia in three-quarters of a glass of water,
to be sipped by degrees during an hour’s time. This does not exert
any effect on the lung tissue, does not prevent the development of
edema; it simply relieves the spasm and the abdominal pain. In ­
halation of the vapors from this mixture may give relief, but Dr.
Hudson warns against strong ammonia vapors as quite capable in
themselves of causing edema.
An instance of death following the combined effect of nitrous
oxide fumes and strong ammonia is related in the London Lancet
(1902, vol. 2 , p. 1397). A man was making a slow recovery from
nitrous oxide anesthesia, and strong ammonia was held to his nose.
He died, and acute congestion of all the air passages was found.
Substitutes for chloroform are found in chlorodyne, small doses of
opiates, bromides. Several physicians have declared that they did
not use the chloroform treatment except when a man had become
accustomed to it in another place and demanded it.
A spray of some soothing liquid, such as albolene with menthol
or thymol, is said to relieve the spasmodic cough. For the pain in
the abdomen Loeper recommends large doses of bicarbonate of soda
or cocaine or stovaine. ' The British committee’s report lays stress
on the relief afforded by vomiting, and when this does not occur spon­
taneously they give lukewarm salt water till the effect is secured.
Fresh air, quiet, and rest are advised even after a mild attack of
fume poisoning. The diet should be simple, and laxatives should
be given.
Many experiments have been made to find a method of treatment
which will help to ward off the development of the dreaded dropsy
of the lungs. E sch 1 claims to have found that sodium thiosulphate
has such an effect by virtue of its reducing power. Esch recom­
mends a hypodermic dose of a tenth to a fifth of a gram of thio­
sulphate or a much larger dose by mouth, since it is quite harmless.
In addition inhalations of ammonia should be administered. The
thiosulphate is said to be antagonistic to picric acid and the nitriles,
as well as to possess this reducing power.
In case of unconsciousness from nitrous fumes artificial respira­
tion should be given, preferably with oxygen; the man should be
kept w arm ; heart stimulants given if necessary; and as soon as pos­
1 V ero ffen tlich u n g en a u s dem G ebiete des M a rin e -S a n ita tsw ese n s, F eb., 1915. Ab­
s tr a c te d by K. O hnesorg, S u rgeon U . S. A ., U. S. N a v a l M ed ical B u lle tin , 1916, N o. 4,
V ol. X , p. 625.



sible fluids given in large quantities. The British authorities rec­
ommend m ilk; Esch, alkali waters with strong coffee.
When edema develops absolute rest must be insisted on, so as to
make as little demand as possible on the lungs. Oxygen may serve
to keep a man alive till the dropsical fluid begins to be absorbed
(Hudson). Counterirritation in the form of mustard plasters is
recommended by one American physician. Venesection and normal
salt infusion is advocated by Hudson and by Esch. Zadek 1 used
intravenous injections of sodium bicarbonate solution.
British and French medical journals during the last two years have
contained many articles on the treatment of “ trench gassing,” poi­
soning by chlorine gas, in which the later lesions are much the same
as in nitrous-fume poisoning, though the immediate asphyxiating
effects are much more intense. Edema of the lungs develops after a
varying interval, as in nitrous-fume poisoning, and the suggestions
as to treatment of this condition would apply also to edema from
nitrous fumes.
Bram w ell 2 uses large linseed poultices over the whole back. He
finds that anemic men do not suffer as severely as the plethoric and
believes that bleeding would help. G ardner 3 gives emetics to help
in the expulsion of the fluid, but even better is to place the man on
an inclined plane at about 30°, with the neck on an upright piece
and the head falling back over it to a padded rest. Massage of the
chest given in this position results in the expulsion of much fluid
from the lungs. The treatment may be given for 10 minutes at a
Symes 4 experimented on animals and found chloroform of no use
in relieving the bronchial spasm, but burning stramonium leaves,
with perhaps lobelia mixed, gave decided relief. The pupils must
be watched for the danger of overdose. Opium fumes also were of
use. There is a controversy among British physicians as to the value
of injections of atropin for chlorine gassing.
Nitro and amido compounds.—Curschmann says there are two
remedial measures for poisoning by nitrobenzol and anilin, re­
moval from the source of the poison, and administration of oxygen.
Although animal experiments give one no reason to believe that the
amount of oxygen in the blood can be artificially increased, never­
theless empirically oxygen does seem to wor.k, perhaps by increasing
the depth of the inspirations. He quotes B rat as finding the alka­
linity of the blood lessened by the formation of methsemoglobin, and
therefore advising venesection. Curschmann sees no benefit in the
1 D e u tsch e m ed iz in isc h e W o c h e n sch rift, 1916, vol. 42, p. 20 8 .
2 B r itis h M ed ical J o u rn a l, 1915, V ol. II, p. 460.
8 L ondon L a n cet, 1 915, V ol. II, p. 78.
* B r itis h M ed ical J o u rn a l, 1 915, V ol. II, p. 12.



use of excitants such as camphor and musk, recommended by many
German physicians. He would give cool baths and abundant milk.
Many American physicians use oxygen in cases of cyanosis from
these poisons, but others have seen no benefit from it and consider
it an illogical form of treatment, because the methsemoglobin can not
be driven out from its combination by forcing in oxygen. They
prefer to use stimulants, of which camphor seems the most valuable.
Anilin on the surface of the body should be washed off with soap
or with a weak solution of acetic acid or vinegar, not for the reason
often held, that it serves to form acetanilid and prevent absorption,
but simply because water will not remove anilin unless it is acidu­
Clements (quoted by Hudson) uses effervescing phosphate of soda
for the nausea, and aromatic ammonia as a stimulant. He then
encourages elimination by a brisk purge, usually calomel followed
by a saline. F or diuresis, he recommends large quantities of w arm
Trinitrotoluol.—Systemic symptoms. In cases without jaundice
the British authorities recommend removal from contact with the
poison, rest in bed for a day or two, a light diet of milk, fruit, and
green vegetables; demulcent drinks, such as barley water, tea, and
coffee; the bowels kept open by cascara sagrada or other vegetable
laxatives; and a mixture of sodium sulphate, potassium citrate, and
sodium bicarbonate to be given as routine treatment.
I f jaundice develops, rest in bed from the first is essential; milk,
at first in small quantities, slowly increasing to four pints a day.
The bowels must be kept loose, preferably by mistura alba, repeatedly
given to maintain its action, if necessary. Alkali-producing drugs,
such as citrates and bicarbonates, are given to counteract the tendency
to acid intoxication. Rectal and intravenous saline injections have
a definite place in the treatment of severe cases.
Dermatitis.—There are many remedies recommended for this form
of triton poisoning.
As a preventive the British committee recommends a mixture of 2
parts of castor oil to 1 of lanolin, rubbed into the skin after wash­
ing at the end of work.
The English dermatologist, Prosser W hite ,1 uses for the early
itching stage a mixture containing camphor, carbolic acid, hydrarg.
perchlorat, picric acid, and alcohol. This is to be painted on by
the physician. F or home treatment he gives a mixture containing
2 parts of the above to 4 parts of lotio calam. comp, and pulv.
acacise. Then for a soothing ointment, to be applied at night when

1 London Lancet, 1916, Vol. I, p. 400.



a bandage can be worn: Acid oleic, 9 parts and zinc oxid 1 part,
stand two hours. Emplastrum plumbi 10 parts, parenol solid, 25
parts, parenol liquid, 13 parts, hydrarg. amnion. 3 parts.
Two English physicians who are in charge of the force in a triton
works say th at any simple emollient will serve the purpose. They
use zinc and bismuth ointments, lotions of tragacanth and glycerin,
or boro-calamine lotion.1
Among American physicians alkaline washes seem to be popular,
especially wet dressings of a saturated solution of bicarbonate of
soda. One physician with a wide experience uses for moist eczema
a teaspoonful of lysol in a pint of w ater; and for the dry, an
ointment with phenol, calomel, zinc oxide, starch, and petrolatum.
Another prescribes a wash of magnesium carbonate suspended in
water, and then a mixture of alcohol and glycerin.
Fulminate of mercury.—A t the United States arsenal at Frankford, the men who handle fulminate are given carbolized vaseline to
rub on the skin after washing. For fulminate itch, an ointment is
made of balsam of Peru, with zinc oxide ointment, and a little
carbolic acid.
Picric acid.—Crede’s ointment has been recommended for severe
picric-acid itch, and for the milder forms, a lotion of equal parts
tincture of belladonna and tincture of aconite. Another treatment
is carron oil applied after a full bath.
Tetryl dermatitis.—Dr. Enid Sm ith ,2 who has had charge of 250
women handling tetryl in an English munition works, advises the
following measures: Each woman hardens her hands before going
to work by washing in “ methylated spirit ” 20 parts, to 80 parts of
water, and dusts the face with a powder of zinc oxide 1 part to 3
parts of starch. She is warned not to touch the face after this. On
leaving work she washes with bran or with olive-oil soap. The
working clothes must be soaked in cold water and kerosene and
rinsed before boiling to get rid of the tetryl dust. I f a severe
dermatitis occurs, the face should be steamed, then wet cloths ap­
plied to allay the irritation, and then calamine lotion or ointment
of zinc oxide with lanoline and castor oil. No lead lotion must be
used as lead has a dangerous affinity for tetryl.
1 L iv in g sto n e -L e a r m o u th an d C un n in gh am , L o ndon L a n c et, 1916, V ol. I I, p. 261.

3 British Medical Journal, 1916, Vol. I, p, 618,

A N D A F T E R A P R IL 1, 1917.
The follow ing safety standards have been adopted by the Industrial Board,
subject to the provisions of the Law (Act 267, section 15, P. L. 1913) which
provides that persons affected may petition the Board for changes in the
regulations. Upon the receipt of such petition, it w ill be reviewed by the
Board and if considered necessary a public* hearing w ill be called in regard
Every person or persons who violate any of the provisions of Act 267 of
June 2, 1913, or any of the rules or regulations of the Industrial Board, or
who resist or interfere w ith any officer or agents of the Departm ent of Labor
and Industry in the perform ance of his duties in accordance w ith the said
rules and regulations, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon
conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred
dollars, or by im prisonm ent not exceeding one month, or both, at the d is­
cretion of the court.
E X P L O S IV E S .

The word “ SHALL ” where used is to be understood as mandatory and
“ SHOULD ” as advisory.
C au tion :— E m p lo y ees sh a ll n o t rem ove or m ake in e ffec tiv e an y sa fe g u a r d s w h ile
sam e are in use, e x ce p t fo r th e p u rp o se o f m ak in g rep airs, and su ch sa fe g u a r d s
so rem oved s h a ll be rep laced .

The provisions of all safety standards issued by the Industrial Board shall
apply in all m atters not specifically covered herein.
S e c tio n 1. P la c es C o v ered . —This code shall govern the operation of all
buildings, factories, establishm ents, or other places where people are employed,
w herein explosives "are manufactured, used, handled, stored, or in wT
hich they
are produced as the result of m anufacturing processes.
Sec. 2. M a te r ia ls C o v ered . —The follow ing m aterials are classed as explosives
by the Industrial B oard: B lack powder (all v a rieties), dry guncotton, nitro­
glycerin, dynamite, chlorates, fulm inates, fireworks and any other of their
compounds or m ixtures or any other substances which are subject to explosion
by the aid of shock, friction, spark or heat. Smokeless powder, w et guncotton
and w et nitrostarch, w hile not properly classed w ith the above as explosives,
are also included in these regulations.

Sec. 3. C o n stru c tio n o f B u ild in g s , E x c e p t E x p e r im e n ta l an d T e s tin g L a b o ra ­
to rie s . —All rooms or portions of explosives plants in which there are used,

generated or found, explosive vapors and wherein persons are employed shall
be separated from other rooms or portions of plants by fire resisting w alls or




partitions, pierced w ith such openings only as are necessary except when such
rooms or portions of plants consist of separate buildings. In such places
where the m aterial which is being used or which produces the explosive
vapors does not exceed ten gallons in quantity and is confined in approved
safety cans it w ill be necessary only to prohibit the use of naked flames, to
post approved danger signs and to observe safe practices. M aterials which
give off explosive vapors shall not be stored in workrooms wherein people are
employed, unless such m aterials are stored in closed containers properly vented.
Where practical, safety cans should be used.
Where m aterials giving off explosive vapors are stored in separated or under­
ground storage system s outside of buildings they may be distributed by ap­
proved types of pipe lines throughout buildings where persons are employed.
The openings which are necessary in the above mentioned fire resisting
w alls shall be provided w ith an approved type of fire resisting door and these
doors shall be kept closed at all tim es except when in use to permit passage
from one room or portion o f a plant to the other. On all such doors shall be
posted an approved danger sign, warning against the carrying of m atches or an
open light and prohibiting the entrance of any but authorized employees or
others designated by the manager or superintendent.
Sec. 4- N u m b e r o f E m p lo y e e s .— The number of employees in such rooms 0*
portions of a plant shall be kept to the minimum compatible w ith the process of
manufacture. This can be obtained by building additional fire resisting por­
tions 0* by the addition of sm all unit buildings.
See. 5. L ig h tin g . — No open or naked ligh ts such as lanterns, stoves, torches,
etc., shall be allowed in such rooms or portions of plants, except for necessary
repairs under proper supervision.' W atchmen or others using portable ligh ts
shall be supplied w ith vapor proof lights.
Such rooms or portions of plants shall be lighted (if artificial light is needed)
by means of an electric system installed in conduit or in lead encased cables,
w ith vapor proof keyless lamps. All sw itches or fuses shall be located on the
outside of such rooms or buildings in a protected place. T his installation must
conform to the U nderw riters’ Standards. It would be preferable and desirable
if all lights could be projected by reflectors into rooms from the outside through
properly located windows. The employment of electric motors other than
those of a sparkless induction type, in the above rooms is forbidden.
Sec. 6. V e n tila tio n . — I f the amount o f gases or vapors produced in such rooms
or buildings is deemed sufficient by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry,
or his authorized representative, to be a menace to the safety or to the health
of employees working herein, an efficient exhaust sysem, plans of which must
be approved by the Departm ent of Labor and Industry, shall be installed
in such rooms and kept operating at all tim es when persons are employed
D uring necessary repairs which m ight cause a spark, all other operations
shall cease, and such repairs shall be made only after adequate ventilation has
been established to free the room or portion of the plant from explosive gas
or vapor.
See. 7. P re v e n tio n o f E x p lo sio n s. — Oil lanterns, open lights, and any method
o f work wiiich might generate a spark are prohibited in the vicinity of acid
containers, except when necessary to apply heat for thaw ing purposes which
shall be done under proper supervision. The opening of drums by means of an
iron chisel and hammer is prohibited. Suitable wrenches shall be provided.
L ocalities where such material is stored shall be posted w ith warning signs
calling attention to the danger of bringing naked lights into the vicinity.




See. 8. N itr ic A c id .— In view of the danger to the worker from inhalation of
nitrous fum es in case of fire or of the breakage of carboys, such carboys con­
taining nitric acid shall be stored in detached sheds w ith sandstone, brick, or
other suitable flooring, and in quantities not to exceed one hundred (100) car­
boys placed in not more than four rows. N itric acid in carboys may be stored
in the open in unlim ited quantities.
The follow ing notice w ill be supplied by the Departm ent of Labor and In­
dustry on application, and shall be posted at all places in plants where there is
danger of poisoning by acid fumes.


Employees are strictly prohibited from entering buildings where dense acid
fum es exist, or tanks, or confined spaces which are not entirely clear of acid
fumes, unless they w ear a helmet.
Employees working in such places shall, ip addition to the helmet, w^ear
a life line which is at all tim es in the hands of an assistan t stationed outside
of the tank.
Employees wT have been exposed to acid fum es and who feel wT
eak, sick,
short of breath, or who are attacked w ith cramps or coughing shall report this
condition to their foreman or to the hospital at once so that proper treatm ent
can be given. D on’t w ait to get home. D elay may be fatal. Take no chances.
R esponsibility for complying w ith these regulations shall rest w ith the fore­
man or other person designated for that purpose by the management of the
F ailure to comply w ith these regulations may subject the offender to a penalty
of a fine or imprisonment.
D e p a r t m e n t o f L a bo r a n d I n d u s t r y .

W ater shall be alw ays available for use in case of evolution of nitrous fum es
caused by breakage or other accident to carboys, and all workers handling such
acid shall be warned against sprinkling sand, saw dust, earth or anything other
than w ater or alkalies upon any spilled nitric acid.


See. 9. P la c e s C o v e re d .— In all buildings in which fumes, vapors or gases of
an asphyxiating or poisonous nature are manufactured, used, handled or stored
and in buildings in which chem icals which give off such fum es, vapors or gases,
are produced, used, handled or stored, the follow ing regulations shall be en­
See. 10. R e s u s c ita tio n .— For every fifty (50) persons or less employed in such
plant and exposed to such risk there shall be present at all tim es at least two
(2) persons who are trained or competent to apply means of resuscitation by
the prone pressure or Schaeffer method or by mechanical devices approved by
the Industrial Board.
A sufficient number of helm ets of a type approved by the Industrial Board
shall be kept at each plant, in order that they may be available for use by every
employee who has occasion to enter places where there may be asphyxiating or
poisonous gases, fum es or vapors.



A ll employees who are required by the employer to wear helm ets in making
repairs or in m aintenance work shall be thoroughly instructed in the use o f
such apparatus and be physically exam ined by a licensed physician at least once
in ninety days or after abscence from work due to either sickness or accident
and the physician shall certify to the proper physicial condition of the men so
employed and no employee shall be perm itted to do such repair work unless
so exam ined and certified.
Sec. 11. R u le s o f P ro c e d u re .— I f it is necessary for an employee to enter any
vats, tanks or other containers in which there have been used, stored or manu­
factured, gases, fum es or vapors of an asphyxiating or poisonous nature, or
m aterials which give off gases, fum es or vapors of an asphyxiating or poisonous
nature, the follow ing procedure shall be p u rsu ed :
(a ) Empty containers. Disconnect and blank off all connections.
(b) Clean containers thoroughly by repeated w ashings wT
ith w ater, soda
w ater, steam, compressed air or other suitable means.
(c) If the person in charge then considers conditions satisfactory, em ployees
may enter such containers. They m ust use an approved type o f helm et and
have attached to their bodies a life line or rope if the person in charge con­
siders it necessary.
(d) The life line or rope shall be under the control of one or more fellow
workmen, who shall remain outside o f the container, in order that they may
render assistance if necessary.
(e) A fter the work is finished the men should take, at once, a bath and
change their clothing, including shoes, if the forem an or other person in charge
shall deem it necessary. F a cilities for taking such baths shall be provided.
The superintendent of the plant shall be held responsible for the enforcem ent
o f these regulations.
A copy of the rules for procedure as given above w ill be furnished by the
D epartm ent of Labor and Industry and shall be posted at every place in each
plant where asphyxiating or poisonous fumes, gases or vapors may be found.

Sec. 12. S c o p e .—The handling and storage of all acids and other chem icals
necessary for the operation of explosives plants, not herein provided for, shall
be governed by the regulations as set forth in the code governing the operation
o f chemical works.
E X P L O S IV E S .

Sec. 13. A m o u n t A llo w e d .—All buildings in which any quantity o f explosives
is manufactured, handled, used or tem porarily stored shall be classed as
explosives buildings. Those buildings, w herein finished explosives not being
used in the process o f m anufacture are kept or are stored for periods exceed­
ing forty-eight hours, shall be classed as magazines,
E xplosive m aterial, not in process o f m anufacture but which is being used
in loading detonators, tim ing or prim ing caps, or in like m anufacturing proc­
esses, shall not be stored in workrooms w herein people are employed except
under the follow ing con d ition s:
(a ) Where the quantity used for the day’s run does not exceed one hundred
(100) pounds, it is perm issible to keep in closely covered receptacles th at nec­
essary for the day’s run.
(b) Where the quantity necessary for the day’s run exceeds one hundred
(100) pounds, only one hundred (100) pounds may be stored in the workroom
at one tim e and then only at a place where it shall be suitably protected from



careless or promiscuous handling. Additional supplies shall be brought from ■
the magazine as needed.
(c) E xplosive m aterials being used in the above processes may be stored in
any quantity in storage buildings erected for that purpose, provided that
such buildings are not used for other purposes and are located at proper dis­
tances from other buildings w herein persons are employed, or are protected by
suitable natural or artificial barricades.
(d ) Fulm inates or m aterials of like sensibility shall be brought into work­
rooms in quantities sufficient only for concurrent use.
E xplosive m aterial not in process of m anufacture and not being used in proc­
esses of m anufacturing as above provided for shall be stored in m agazines.
Sec. 14 . P la n s of O ld P la n ts .—Each concern, m anufacturing, using, handling,
or storing explosives shall on and after April 1st, 1917, keep in the office of the
superintendent of each plant, a plan of said plant show ing the location of all
explosives buildings and the distance they are located from other explosives
buildings or buildings where persons are employed and from m agazines, and
these plans shall at all tim es be open to inspection by a duly authorized in­
spector of the Departm ent of Labor and Industry. The superintendent of each
plant shall, upon the demand of said inspector, furnish the follow ing inform a­
tion :
The number of persons ordinarily engaged at work in or a t each building or
the proposed number to be allowed there.
The maximum amount and kind of explosive m aterial which is or w ill be
present in each building at one time.
The nature and kind of work carried on in each building and whether or not
such buildings are surrounded by natural or artificial barricades and the di­
mensions of such barricades.
Sec. 15. P la n s o f N e w P la n ts .—Every concern hereafter engaging in the
m anufacture, use or handling of explosives, shall before or at the tim e of
commencing operations, comply w ith section 14.
Sec. 16. A d m is sio n to P la n ts .—The entrance to plants m anufacturing ex­
plosives exclusively, and to all portions o f plants w here explosives buildings
shall be m aintained, shall be fenced off in such a manner as to prevent the
entrance of persons other than employees unless perm ission has first been
obtained from the superintendent, manager, or proper authorities.
No person other than authorized employees, or State inspectors properly
identified, shall be allowed in any plant m anufacturing explosives or handling
or using the same in the process of m anufacture unless they have been given
w ritten perm ission by the superintendent, manager, or proper authorities, and
are accompanied by them or their authorized representative. A record of such
permission granted shall be kept on file in the office.
No person upon whom th e odor of liquor is detected shall be allowed upon the
prem ises of a plant m anufacturing or using explosives, or in any explosives
No employee, other than those authorized to do work in or around such
buildings, shall be allowed to remain near or in explosives buildings.
Sec. 17. M a te ra l A llo w e d in E x p lo siv e s B u ild in g s .—All explosives buildings
shall be kept clean of all unnecessary loose tools, refuse, and debris of any kind,
at all tim es, and shall not be used as temporary storehouses for m aterial not
necessary at that tim e in the process of m anufacture.
No explosives building w h ile containing explosives shall be used as a store­
house for im plements or other paraphernalia.
Sec. 18. R e p a ir s .— W henever repairs are necessary in an explosives building,
they shall be attended to by either a repairs engineer or other authorized



person. The foreman, or person in charge of the building, shall be responsible
for seeing that only those authorized, attend to these repairs, and that in the
case of major repairs all explosive m aterial is removed before repairs are
Before work may be resumed, after repairs have been made, all articles other
than those allowed shall be removed from th e . building, and the workroom
placed in its original working condition.
Sec. 19. M a tc h e s. —No employee shall have in h is possession at any tim e in
any explosives plant, any match or other flame-producing device unless he is
authorized in w riting by the superintendent to do so, in w^hich case approved
safety matches only may be used.
A search for m atches shall be made by some authorized person at least tw ice
a week at irregular intervals. The finding of a match or other flame-producing
device on the person of an employee not authorized to have m atches in his
possession shall be cause for instant dism issal, and the facts shall be reported
to the Commissioner of Labor and Industry.
I Sec. 20. C loth in g o f E m p lo y e e s. —All employees handling loose explosives or
working in or around explosives m anufacturing buildings w here there is a
possibility of explosion by th'e attrition of m etals shall wear powder shoes or
rubber soled shoes (w ithout iron or steel n a ils). No pockets shall be allowed
in the clothing worn in such work except one skeleton pocket in either the coat
or trousers. N either iron nor steel buttons, nor other m etal attachm ents, shall
be allowed on such clothes, nor shall metal objects, such as knives, keys, etc.,
be allowed to be carried in the pockets.
| A ll explosives buildings shall be provided at each entrance w ith suitable de­
vices whereby the shoes of all those persons entering such buildings can be
cleaned and all persons before entering such buildings shall wipe or clean their
Sec. 21. C hange o r L o c k e r H o u se s. — Suitable change or locker houses shall be
provided where em ployees can change their clothes and w^ash.
, No lockers shall be allowed in explosives buildings.
I Sec. 22. T ra n s p o rta tio n , M a c h in e ry and P la tfo r m s . —All trucks or conveyors
used for the transportation o f loose explosive material, except sm okeless powder
not in the dry state or w et nitro compounds, shall be provided w ith either side
or end rails or guards to prevent any explosives from slipping off the truck or
other conveyors. Only trucks or other conveyors that are in perfect repair
shall be used.
i Careful inspection shall be made daily by the foremen to see whether all
machinery used in the m anufacture or handling of explosives is in perfect
order. I f not found in such shape, it shall not be used until placed in perfect
i All dangerous machinery and moving parts of machinery shall be guarded
in approved manner as specified by the S afety Standards o f the Industrial
Board of the Departm ent of Labor and Industry.
| All platforms, stairw ays, tanks, vats, runw ays and other dangerous places
shall be guarded by standard railings and toe boards as required by the Indus­
trial Board of Standards on Standard R ailings and Toe Boards, except where
j there is danger of dust collecting,, when toe boards shall not be used, but in all
such instances special perm ission shall be obtained from the D epartm ent of
! Labor and Industry. Metal shall not be used for railings and toe boards where
its presence increases the danger of an explosion and no railings or toe boards
shall be installed so as to interfere w ith safety exits,
J k E ither the tread of all w heels on tracks or conveyors or the rails used inside
o f explosives buildings shall be composed of nonsparking m aterial.



Sec. 23. H a n d C a rryin g o f E x p lo siv e s. —W here explosives are carried from
one building to another, as for instance from m agazines to workrooms, em­
ployees carrying such explosives shall not be allowed to follow each other
closely but must allow an interval of at least one minute in time or one hundred
(100) feet in distance. This does not apply to such explosives as trinitro­
toluol and sm okeless powder.
Sec. 24. C lea n lin ess. — I f any explosive m aterial or ingredients shall be
spilled, they shall be im m ediately cleaned up.
The floors of all explosives buildings shall be so laid as to be as free as
possible from cracks, openings or any irregularities and no projecting or visible
iron or steel nails shall be permitted in such floors.
Sec. 25. L ig h tin g . —Temporary or loose electric wiring, such as extension
lights, etc., is absolutely prohibited in explosives buildings except in case of
emergency w hile making necessary repairs.
All inside electric w iring shall be of a permanent character installed in metal
conduit or lead encased cable w ith vapor proof keyless lamps. Installation of
m aterial of same shall conform to the U nderw riters’ Standards.
Sec. 26. T a b le o f D ista n c e s. — (A table of distances is now in process of prepa­
ration and w ill be issued at an early date.)
See. 27. P r o te c tio n A g a in s t L ig h tn in g . — L ightning protection shall be pro­
vided for all electric conduits and circuits entering explosives buildings, by
means of suitable lightning arresters installed outside and not on the buildings.
All installations must be in accordance w ith U nderwriters’ Standards.
Sec. 28. H e a tin g . — The workrooms, when desirable, shall be heated by an
approved system of steam, indirect hot air radiation or hot water. The tem­
perature of the steam shall not exceed 120° centigrade. The radiators shall
be at least one (1) inch distant from all wooden w alls or other inflammable
m aterial and shall be attached in such a manner that they can be easily in­
spected and cleaned.
Sec. 29. F ire E x tin g u ish in g A p p a ra tu s. — All outside w ater mains shall be
underground below the frost line. The provision of chemical fire extinguishers
is recommended under certain conditions but not in high explosives and black
powder m anufacturing buildings. In workrooms where alcohol or other easily
inflammable liquids, in quantities over one barrel, are being used, steam pipes or
sprinkler system s for the extinguishing of fires shall be provided.
In a d d itio n to th e fo re g o in g re g u la tio n s th e fo llo iv in g sh a ll be o b se rv e d lo ith
re fe re n c e to th e m a n u fa c tu r e an d h a n dlin g o f th e re sp e c tiv e su b sta n c es enu­
m e r a te d beloto:




Sec. 30. F lo o rs. — The floor of the nitrator house shall either be covered w ith
sheet lead or the nitrator shall stand in a suitable lead pan, drained to the
drowning tank. All seam s and joints shall be lead burned in a careful manner,
ao that there may be no crevices in which nitroglycerin w ill, lodge.
The floor shall be so constructed as to be readily washed and drained.
N ew lead floor covering shall be extended by means of a round corner at
least three inches up each side wall, thus making a sanitary corner.
Sec. 31. T h e rm o m e te rs. —At least two reserve therm ometers shall be kept in
each nitrator house for use in case of emergency.
Sec. 32. C o n stru c tio n an d O p e ra tio n . — When in the judgm ent of the Commis­
sioner of Labor and Industry or his authorized representative, fum es are being



given off, adequate vent pipes shall be provided to carry off all fum es from the
nitrator to the outside o f the building.
There shall be a daily inspection of the nitrator and a test of its coils.
No iron valves shall be allowed on any nitroglycerin pipe lines, except quick
opening nitrator plug cocks, which shall be frequently lubricated. A ll other
valves or stop cocks on nitroglycerin pipe lines or containers shall be of stone­
w are, earthenware, hard rubber or wood and shall be kept clean and greased.
No repairs shall be made during nitration except in emergencies.
N itrators shall be provided w ith coils for cooling by cold water, or brine or
other suitable m eans and also wT m eans for both m echanical and compressed
air agitation.
No more than tw o nitrators shall be installed and not more than three em­
ployees shall be regularly employed in any one building.
D uring nitration the attention o f one employee shall be given w holly to
observing the therm ometer and running in the glycerin.
No removal of supplies of acid or glycerin drums shall be allowed in the
nitrator house w hile nitration is going on. The nitrator house shall be located
not less than the approved distance from the nearest operating building con­
taining other employees. The glycerin heating house and acid tanks are
No charge of nitroglycerin shall be sent to the separator house in a hose
line w hile nitrating operations are in process.
Catch boxes shall be provided on all outlets for w ash w ater and inside catch
boxes, if used, shall be cleaned w eekly, at tim es when there is no charge of
nitroglycerin in the nitrator house.
The floors shall be w ashed daily at the conclusion of the d ay’s work.
Sec. 33. D ro w n in g T a n k s.— Each nitrator house shall be provided w ith a
drowning tank which shall have a w ater capacity of at least five tim es the
amount of the acid charges and be provided w ith an air agitator and water
inlet. A ll valves shall be located conveniently for the operators in case of

Sec, 34- F lo o rs. — The floor of the separator house shall be covered w ith sheet
lead w ith all seam s and joints lead burned in a careful manner, so that there
may be no crevices in which nitroglycerin w ill lodge.
The floor shall be so constructed as to be readily washed and drained. The
lead floor covering on new buildings shall be extended by means of a round
corner at least three inches up each side w all, thus making a sanitary corner.
A lead pan under the receptacle for holding nitroglycerin w ill be acceptable,
in old construction, in lieu of a complete lead floor covering.
S e c . 35. T h e rm o m e te rs. — P lain reading therm ometers shall be supplied in
each separating tank and a reserve supply of at least tw o shall be kept in each
separator house.
Sec. 36. C o n stru c tio n an d O p e ra tio n . —Not more than twT charges shall be
allowed in a separator house at one time.
The maximum number o f regular em ployees in each separator house shall be
All stopcocks or valves on nitroglycerin pipe lines or containers shall be of
stoneware, earthenware, hard rubber, or wood.
Catch boxes shall be provided on all outlets for w ash w ater and inside catch
boxes, if used, shall be cleaned weekly, at tim es when there is no charge of
nitroglycerin in the separator house.


I ll

No charge shall be sent from the separator house at a tim e when a charge
is being received.
Each separating tank shall be cleaned and the floors washed daily at the
conclusion of the d ay’s work.
It is perm itted to carry on the three operations of nitration, separation and
neutralization in one building, provided that the regulations prescribed for each
individual operation are complied with.
Sec. 37. D r o w n in g T a n k s .—An air agitator shall be provided for each sepa­
rating tank and the outlet of each tank shall be suitably arranged so that the
entire charge may be drowned in a drowning tank which shall have a w ater
capacity of at least five tim es that of the acid charge. T h is drowning tank
shall be provided w ith an air agitator and w ater supply.

Sec. 38. F lo o rs .— The floors of each of tlie above houses shall be covered w ith
sheet lead, w ith all seam s and join ts lead burned in a careful manner so that
there may be no crevices in which nitroglycerin w ill lodge.
The floors should be so constructed as to be readily washed and drained.
The lead floor covering on new buildings shall be extended by means of a
round corner at least three inches up each side w all, thus making a sanitary
A lead pan under receptacles for holding nitroglycerin w ill be acceptable in
old construction in lieu of a complete lead floor covering.
S e c . 39. C o n stru c tio n a n d O p e ra tio n .—The maximum number of regular em­
ployees in each one o f these houses shall be three.
Catch boxes on the outlets for a ll w ash w ater shall be provided. Inside catch
boxes when operating shall be cleaned at lea st once a week, at a tim e when no
charges are being sent from the house or are being received into it.
No charge of nitroglycerin shall be sent out of a house into a pipe line or
gutter during the period in which a charge is being received.
The floors shall be w ashed daily at the conclusion of the day’s work.
Sec. 40. A c id B u r n s .— A w ater outlet or shower bath shall be provided inside
of all houses where an employee may be in danger of being burned w ith acid.
T R A N S P O R T A T IO N .

Sec. 41. H o se L in e s .—B efore and after a charge of nitroglycerin is sent
down a line in cold w eather, hot w ater shall be sent down through the hose line
or in a gutter surrounding the hose line.
All nitroglycerin lin es shall be carried on substantial scaffolding or runw ays
and shall be protected by suitable covering.
A thorough exam ination of the complete system shall be made monthly by
some responsible person and a w ritten report rendered by the official to th e
superintendent or m anager of the plant.
No nitroglycerin lines shall be located or pass an explosives building in
such a w ay as to be liable to rupture or other injury in case of an explosion
occurring in a building w ith which it is not connected.
Hose lines shall be made of the best grade of rubber.
Sec. Jj2. G u tte r s .— I f lead gutters are used instead of hose lines, they shall be
formed of at least six (6 ) pound lead, suitably lead burned and located so that
they w ill drain com pletely toward one end. Rubber gutters are perm issible but
shall be made of a good quality of rubber.
See. Jf3. C a rr ia g e s .—All carriages for the transportation o f nitroglycerin
shall be of an approved design, shall be equipped w ith rubber tires and be o f a
capacity not exceeding eight hundred (800) pounds.



Smooth runw ays for these carriages shall be provided and shall be kept in
good repair at all times.
Sec. 44. H a n d M ix in g H o u se. — The floor o f the hand m ixing house shall be
covered w ith linoleum , rubberoid or other suitable covering, laid by either lap­
ping joints or cem enting their edges.
Sec. 45. C o n stru c tio n a n d O p e ra tio n . —The maximum number o f em ployees
allowed in the m ixing house shall be three, except at a tim e when supplies are
being received or finished m aterial is being taken aw^ay, when the number may
be increased to five.
Proper precautions shall be taken to prevent the freezing of nitroglycerin.
No nitroglycerin shall be stored in the m ixing house in excess of that neces­
sary for the next two charges.
The m ixing bowl shall be made o f wood, wood, lead lin e d ; or of some other
approved substance.
All shovels and rakes shall be made of wood.
No iron or steel tools of any kind shall be allowed in or about a m ixing house,
at platform s or entrances, except in case of repairs when operations shall cease
and explosives shall be removed. No iron drums shall be rolled or dragged
over the floor or platform.
The maximum amount of nitroglycerin in a m ixing house at one tim e shall
be two thousand (2,000) pounds.
No mixed powder shall be regularly allowed to remain in a m ixing house
over night.

Sec. J/6. O p e ra tio n . — The regulations for the hand m ixing house shall cover

the machine m ixing houses w ith the follow ing ex cep tio n s:
The maximum number of regular employees in a m ixing house at one tim e
shall be four, except at a tim e when supplies are being received or finished
m aterial is being taken aw ay when the number, may be increased to six.
The maximum amount of explosive m aterial allowed at one tim e in the build­
ing shall be four thousand (4,000) pounds.

Sec. J
f7. O p e ra tio n . —The maximum number of regular employees in each

hand packing or punching house shall be seven.
The floors of such houses shall be covered w ith linoleum, rubberoid or other
suitable covering laid by either lapping joints or cem enting their edges.
No explosive m aterial shall be stored therein during operations except that
which is necessary for the day’s work.
A thorough cleaning shall be given at the conclusion of the day’s work and
all refuse m aterial shall be destroyed according to the method adopted at th a t
particular plant.
Proper precautions shall be taken to prevent the freezing of nitroglycerin
and no powder shall be packed in a frozen condition.

Sec. 48. O p era tio n . —All dipping o f cartridges must be done in a jacketed
kettle, the heat being supplied by either hot w ater or steam w ith a maximum
pressure of tw enty (20) pounds.

S e c . 49. 'N um ber o f E m p lo y e e s. — The maximum number of regular em­
ployees shall be seven. W henever the output of the plant is such as to require
a larger number of employees they shall be placed in a separate unit protected
by barricades.




Sec. 50. O p e ra tio n . — All gelatin m ixing shall be done in a building provided
for that purpose.
The gelatin packer or “ sausage ” m achine shall be located in a separate
building, except when the number of employees is four (4) or less when m ixing
and packing operations may be carried on in the same building.
The maximum number of regular em ployees in a packing house shall be five.
The maximum number of regular employees in a m ixing house shall be four.
When the output is such that it requires an additional number of hand
wrappers, they shall be housed in a separate building.

Sec. 51. M a te ria ls U sed. — All m aterials used in the m anufacture of black
powder shall, prior to m ixing or incorporating, be subjected to a magnetic
separator or put through a screen.
■Sec. 52. In c o r p o ra tin g M ills. — The mechanism for the starting or stopping of
an incorporating m ill shall be so arranged th at after the m aterial has been
placed in the bowl, the m ill can be started only by an employee from a reason­
ably safe station, and then only after all em ployees have left the building.
No loading or unloading of ingredients or finished mixed m aterial shall be
done w hile the m ill is in operation.
It is recommended that all bolts or parts of machinery which m ight break off
and fa ll into the mill, w hile it is in course of operation, shall be suitably pro­
tected so that in the event o f such breakage, these parts w ill not fa ll into the
m ixing bowl.
Sec. 5S. C lean in g. —A ll buildings shall be w et down from tim e to tim e as
necessity demands and cleaned daily.
On at least one day in each week, at a tim e designated by the superintendent,
there shall be a thorough cleaning o f each building w ith the removal of all
accum ulated dust on w alls and ceiling.
All buildings, in w hich loose powder is handled shall be provided w ith suitable
hose and w ater connections so th at a w et down can be given as often as
Sec. 5Jf. E x a m in a tio n o f M a c h in e ry . —W orkmen when going on duty shall first
exam ine each m ill or building in their respective charge, oil up, and if any­
thing is out of order, report at once to the superintendent or foreman.
Under no circum stances shall the m ill be started unless in proper condition.
W hen any foreign substance is thought to be in the powder, work and
machinery m ust be stopped at once and report made to the superintendent or
At the conclusion of the day’s run the m achinery and belts shall be examined
and if not found to be in first-class condition a report shall be made to that
effect to th e superintendent or foreman.
Sec. 55. R e p a ir s . — In the event of any major repairs being necessary in any
of the buildings, work shall cease at once, and those employees so designated
shall properly clean up th e room and machinery by the removal of all loose
powder and dust and afterw ard thoroughly w et down all parts of the machine
and room. Such repairs shall be made only by persons designated by the
In order th at the number of persons present at such tim es may be kept to a
minimum, the m illw right or mechanic shall send aw ay any o f his helpers when
he can dispense w ith their services. W hen repairs are complete, all tools taken
to the mill shall be accounted for and removed before starting the mill.

92776°—Bull. 219—17------8



Caked powder can be removed by soaking w ith w ater and then loosening by
m eans of a wooden shovel or wooden spud.
Sec. 56. E le c tr ic A p p a ra tu s an d L ig h tin g . —The lighting of all buildings shall
be as provided for in Section 5, and no electric devices w hich may give off
sparks shall be perm itted in any room where powder dust may accum ulate or
be present.
Sec. 57. I m p le m e n ts. —No m etal im plements of any kind except those made of
non-sparking metal shall be used in handling powder.
G E N ER A L .

Sec. 58. S ta n d a r d R a ilin g s . —A ll platforms, openings, and stairw ays shall be
guarded w ith standard railings as provided in S afety Standards of the Indus­
trial Board on Standard R ailings and Toe Boards, Vol. 1, No. 2, except where
there is danger o f explosive or inflammable dust collecting, wiien toe boards
shall not be used. M etal shall not be used for railings and toe boards where
its presence increases the danger of an explosion, and no railings or toe boards
sh all be installed so a s to interfere w ith safety exits.
Sec. 59. W a lk s o r R u n w a y s . —W alks or runw ays should not be built over
th e tops o f tanks or v a ts but should be located at the sides o f such containers
at least 3 feet 6 inches below the top. W here such conditions can not be ob­
tained standard railings shall be installed and toe boards where necessary.
Sec. 60. E sc a p e fr o m B u ild in g s. —All explosives buildings two or more stories
in height shall have a t lea st one outside means otf escape w hich shall be of th e
chute type or a sloping lateral runway. In no case shall steps or ladders be
considered a sufficient substitute.
S ec. 61. R e m o v a l o f A c id F u m es. — Provision shall be made for the carrying
aw ay of acid fum es at all stages o f the nitrating process, i. e., w hile filling the
nitrating vessels w ith acid, w hile adding the cotton, and w hile taking the n i­
trated cotton from the nitrating apparatus and placing it in wringers or cen­
Sec. 62. P r o te c tio n o f E m p lo y e e s. — Employees shall be urged to wear suitable
protective clothing such as rubber gloves, rubber aprons, and rubber shoes or
boots. Suitable types o f respirators and goggles shall be provided.
Sec. 63. C e n trifu g a l S h ed s. — Each centrifugal w ringing out w aste acid shall
be separated from other centrifugals by partitions or shall be located at a safe
distance from other centrifugals. The com partments or sections so created
shall be so arranged th at em ployees can make a quick get-aw ay in case the
cotton should ignite.
Adequate w ater fa cilities shall be provided for fire fighting apparatus and
also for outlets for w ashing purposes and for shower baths. The latter are
necessary especially in the event of workmen receiving acid burns.

S ec. 6^. O p e ra tio n . —All rooms which may contain ether vapor shall be gov­
erned by section 3 to section 6 inclusive.
Sec. 65. E le c tr ic A p p a ra tu s. — No electric apparatus capable of giving off a
spark shall be allowed in such room.
Sec. 66. F lo o rs. — Floors shall be of such construction th at they can be kept



Sec. 67. D o o rs. — An approved number o f ex it doors for a quick get away
shall be provided in such buildings.

Sec. 68.■ G rou n din g o f B in s. — All powder bins shall be suitably grounded to
insure safety from static electricity.
A m onthly inspection and report shall be made of the condition of such
apparatus by a competent person designated by the superintendent.
Sec. 69. N u m b e r o f E m p lo y e e s A llo w e d . ( A ) D r y H o u se s a n d D r y D u m p
H o u se s. —Not more than six employees shall be allowed inside of a dry house

or dry dump house or around such houses w hile a filling or em ptying process
is being carried on.
(B ) B le n d in g H o u s e s — (a ) Not more than tw elve employees shall be allowed
inside of a cordite blending house.
(b) Not more than ten employees shall be allowed inside of a gravity type of
blending house. B y gravity type is meant th at type of blending house in which
the entire charge o f powder is deposited in a bin or funnel situated one or more
floors above the packing floor.
(c ) N ot more than eight employees shall be allowed inside of a bin type
of blending house, i. e., a house in which all operations are carried on on one
I f more than eight men are necessary to carry on operations in a gravity
or bin type of blending house, a maximum number not exceeding tw elve men
w ill be permitted, providing a fire resisting w all of a type approved by the
Commissioner of Labor and Industry, or his authorized representative, shall be
erected. This w all shall separate the employees who are engaged in w eighing,
packing and inspecting from the bins containing the powder. A covered fire
resisting means of escape, extending at least seventy-five (75) feet from
the building, shall be erected. The plan and type of this means of escape shall
be approved by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, or his authorized
The restrictions as to the number o f men mentioned above is intended to
include laborers and foremen but not to include inspectors, superintendents or
other members of the plant manager’s staff, whose duties may require their
presence occasionally to see that the work is being carried on properly.

S IV E S .1

Evidence of the danger to the life and to the health of persons employed
in the m anufacture and use of various benzene derivatives has accumulated
in this State during the past year. The experience of countries, where manu­
facturing processes have been carried on in an extensive w ay for many years,
shows that the industry can be regulated w ithout hindrance to its development
and w ith comparative safety to the workers engaged in the m anufacturing
The State Board of Labor and Industries presents the follow ing regulations
to insure safety to the workers in this State, and w ill welcome any observa­
tions m anufacturers or employees may desire to make on these proposals.
Tlie follow ing substances shall come w ithin these reg u la tio n s:—■

Anilin hydrochloride.
Anilin oil.
Trinitrophenol (picric acid ).
Also all compounds in which any of the foregoing is a part o f the manu­
facturing process.
In the various processes of m anufacture in which any of the foregoing sub­
stances are used, a danger to health arises in three w ays, v iz .:—
1. From the inhalation of fum es before the process of crystalization is com­
2. From the inhalation of dust given off in the breaking up or crushing of
the crystallized mass.
3. From the absorption through the skin by contact w7
ith the m aterial in
either the liquid or solid state.
The danger to health can be reduced to a minimum by—
1. The removal of fum es and dust.
2. The prevention of absorption of the poisonous m aterial through the skin.
1 I n d u s tr ia l B u lle tin
B o sto n , 1916.

N o. 1 1, M a ssa c h u se tts

S ta te B oard o f L abor

and In d u str ie s,



To make prevention effective the fum es and dust must be removed at or
very near to the point where they are produced, and the follow ing means
em ployed:—

1. Every vessel containing any substance included in these regulations shall,
if steam is passed into 0* around it, or if the tem perature of the contents be
at or near the tem perature of boiling water, be covered in such a w ay that no
steam or vapor may be discharged into the open air at a less height than 25 feet
above the heads of the workers.
2. In every room in which fum es from any of the substances included in
these regulations are evolved in the process of m anufacture and are not
removed as provided in section 1 there shall be provided and m aintained
thorough ventilation by means of a fan or other exhaust system.
3. No substances mentioned in these regulations shall be crushed, ground,
m ixed or packed in a crystalline' condition except w ith an efficient exhaust
system, so arranged as to carry aw ay the dust as near as possible at its point
of origin.
4. No substances mentioned in these regulations shall be broken by hand in
a crystallizing pan, nor shall any liquid containing it be agitated by hand*
except by means of an implement at least 6 feet long that shall prevent the
workers’ hands and faces from coming into close proxim ity w ith the sub­
stances used.
5. In the filling o f cartridges w ith any o f the substances m entioned in
these regulations, the process shall not be done by hand except by means
of suitable scoops.
6. D rying stoves shall be efficiently ventilated to the outside air in such
a manner that hot air from the stoves shall not be drawT into the work­
room. No person shall be allowed to enter a stove to remove the contents
until a free current of air has been passed through it. A ll openings in
stoves, retorts, vats, etc., for the adm ission of workmen into the interior
of such stoves, vats, etc., shall be sufficiently large to perm it the easy pas­
sage of the body of such workmen.

There shall be provided and m aintained in a cleanly state, in good repair,
and properly lighted for the use of all persons employed on the substances
mentioned in these regulations—
1. A t least one washbowl, sink, or other appliance for every five persons
and provided w ith running hot and cold water.
The number of bowls, sinks, or other appliances required shall be based
upon the maximum number of persons entitled to use the sam e at any one
time. Twenty inches of sink w ill be considered as an equivalent to one
2. A lavatory w ithin reasonable access and under cover, w ith a sufficient
supply of clean tow els and of soap and nailbrushes.
3. Sufficient and suitable bath accommodations (shower or o th er), w ith
hot and cold w ater, and a sufficient supply of soap and tow els.

R ules and regulations for toilet facilities, adopted by the State Board of
Labor and Industries, shall prevail in all establishm ents where the manu­
facturing processes concerned in these special regulations are carried on.


There shall be provided and m aintained for the use of all persons employed
in the m anufacturing processes included in these regulations—
1. Suitable overalls or su its of working clothes. Overalls included in these
regulations shall be w ashed or renewed at least once every week.
2. India rubber gloves, w hich shall be collected, exam ined and cleansed
at the close of the day’s work and shall be repaired or renewed when de­
fective. E quivalent protection for the hands, when they come in contact
w ith the substances mentioned in these regulations, may be substituted for
3. Clogs or other suitable protection for footw ear that shall guarantee
against contact w ith the substances mentioned in these regulations.
4. A suitable clothes room for changing and for keeping clothing put off
during working hours.
5. A suitable locker, separate from the clothes room and meal room, for
the storage of overalls and other work clothes.

1. In establishm ents included in these regulations a suitable meal room
shall be provided unless the establishm ent is closed during the meal hours.
T his dining room shall be separated from any room in w hich a process using
m aterials mentioned in these regulations is carried on.
2. Suitable provision shall be made for the keeping of food brought by
persons employed.
3. Adequate w ashing facilities, eq u ip p ed w ith running hot and cold water,
shall be provided in or adjacent to the m eal room.
4. No person shall introduce, keep, prepare or partake o f any food, drink,
or tobacco in any room in which a process using substances m entioned in
these regulations is carried on.
Each establishm ent in which m anufacturing processes using m aterials men­
tioned in these regulations are carried on shall employ and keep in employ­
m ent one or more duly qualified physicians to act as medical officer or officers,
who shall be in attendance at all necessary tim es w hile such work is in
progress, so as to guarantee constant medical supervision and cai*e of workers
engaged in these processes of manufacture.
Such medical officer shall also be charged w ith the duty o f enforcing the
follow ing regu latio n s:—
1. E xam ine every person employed in these processes of m anufacture either
before said person begins employment, or w ithin seven days after beginning
said employment.
2. R eexam ine every person employed in these processes at least once in each
calendar month, or at such other intervals as may be necessary to insure pro­
tection to the workman against poisoning from the substances used in the
process of m anufacture; also before perm itting a workman to return to work
after absence or suspension on account o f illness.
3. The medical officer shall have the power of suspension because of physical
unfitness of any person employed on any o f these processes of manufacture,
and no person, after such suspension, shall be reemployed w ithout w ritten
sanction of the medical officer.



4. The medical officer shall give such instruction to employers and to em­
ployees concerning the danger to health from the particular process of manu­
facture being carried on in the establishm ent as w ill best qualify such! per­
sons to— *
(a ) Recognize the signs of poisoning.
( b ) Apply suitable first-aid treatm ent to workmen taken ill upon the premises.
5. The medical officer shall keep a fu ll and complete record of all exam ina­
tions made by him, w hich record shall contain the date on which exam inations
are made, name, address, age, height, w eight, physical condition of heart and
lungs of all persons exam ined by h im ; also a fu ll and complete record of all
illnesses, accidents and deaths occurring among the employees under his charge.
These records shall be open to the inspection of the State Board of Labor and
Industries or its representatives, and a copy thereof shall be forwarded to
said Board w ithin forty-eight hours follow ing the occurrence of the accident,
illness or death, stating as fully as possible the cause of said illness, accident or
death of employees.
No statem ent contained in any such report shall be adm issible as evidence
in any action arising out of said accident, illn ess or death herein reported.
6. There shall be provided a suitable medical or hospital room for the care
and treatm ent of workmen taken ill upon the premises. This room shall be
conveniently located, properly lighted, heated and ventilated, and shall contain
the follow ing minimum equipm ent:—
(a ) A couch or bed.
(b ) Pair of blankets.
(c) Two hot-water bottles.
( d ) Tank of oxygen, w ith apparatus for using the same.
(e) A lungmotor.
( / ) An oxygen helm et for rescue work.
(g ) Suitable ropes for rescue work.
(h ) Medical and surgical chest as prescribed by the rules of the State Board
of Labor and Industries.
A printed notice in language intelligible to all the workers, and in type
sufficiently large to be legible to all workers, labeled “ caution,” shall be con­
spicuously posted and m aintained in all departm ents w here any o f the sub­
stances mentioned in these regulations are used in any processes- carried on
therein. Said notice shall contain the fo llo w in g :—•
1. In large conspicuous type the common name of the poisonous substance
in use in that particular room.
2. T hat the substance named is capable o f causing poisonous symptoms if
precautions are not observed.
3. Signs and symptoms of poisoning, v iz .: Throbbing of blood vessels, giddi­
ness, dizziness, headache, weakness of legs, palpitation o f heart, nausea, blue­
ness, cyanosis, unconsciousness.
4. First-aid treatm ent, v iz .:—
(a ) Remove poisoned person to the fresh air. Keep him quiet and warm.
(b ) Do not let person w alk home until advised by physician.
(c) Use hot coffee as stim ulant.
(d ) I f person is unconscious, apply artificial resp ira tio n ; lungm otor; oxygen
in h a la tio n ; keep patient warm.



5. P reven tion :—
( a ) Avoid dust, fum es and chemical compounds on hands, feet and clothes.
(&) W ash hands before eating and after day’s work is finished.
(c ) Do not eat food nor chew tobacco in workroom.
( d ) Do not wear sam e clothes in workroom and at home.
(e) Use extra protection on hands, feet and clothes w hile at work on any o f
the substances mentioned in these regulations.
( / ) B athe regularly.
( g ) Consult a physician if losing color or weight.
(•h ) Do not enter stoves, vats or retors for repair work unless in the presence
of another workman.
(£) H ave emergency appliances ready for use in all dangerous repair work.
(;) W atch for leaky joints in pipes, ducts, valves, etc., carrying the gas or
chem ical compounds.

M EA SU RES. 1916.1



Illn ess is clue principally to escape of (1) nitrous fum es evolved m ainly in
tlie m anufacture of nitric acid and during the dilution of the TNT w aste acids,
and (2 ). chlorine and compounds of chlorine given off at the commencement
o f working each charge when not thoroughly absorbed in the towers.
The fu ll effect o f inhaling nitrous fum es is not felt im m ediately, and unless
workers are warned o f the danger they may continue to work and u nw ittingly
inhale a fatal dose. The usual course, in other than slight cases, is for cough
and difficulty of breathing to set in three or four hours after exposure to the
fum es, the reason being that it takes th is tim e for the damage done to the
lungs to show itself.
The best precaution is to insure very thorough ventilation at all points
where fum es are likely to be evolved. In the acid plant, w here the evolution
of fum es in excess is unavoidable, only the w earing of an air helm et w ill insure
safety. In the shed itself, acid-resisting fans, fixed at suitable points, as,
for example, in connection w ith hoods over the pelletting tanks, w ill assist
in keeping the atmosphere clear. A ll nitrating vessels should be kept under
a slight negative pressure by a duct (preferably of earthenware pipes) con­
nected w ith a fan or other effective exhaust.

Illn ess may result from—
General effects of DNT and TNT on the constituents o f the blood. The
first symptoms are headache, nausea, and high-colored urine. Outward signs
become distinctive in livid ity of the lips, shortness of breath, and som etim es
jaundice— a grave symptom.
Absorption of the poison takes place—
( a ) by inhalation of the vapor or d u st;
(&) by contact w ith the skin;
( c ) by the alim entary canal.
The first o f these can be dealt w ith by effective ven tilation ; in particular,
by arranging a strong exhaust draught over the cooling trays or granulating
rollers. The casting should be commenced at th e trays nearest to the fan and
should proceed backwards from that point. The motor for driving the fan
should be totally inclosed.2 Sim ilar arrangem ents may be necessary to prevent
inhalation of dust or fum e at the packing bench.
1 P u b lish e d by th e F a c to r y D e p a rtm en t, H om e Office, G reat B r ita in , M arch, 1916.
2 A to ta lly -in c lo s e d m a ch in e is one in w h ic h th e in c lo s in g case and bearin gs are d u st
proof, and w h ic h does n o t a llo w a c ir cu la tio n o f air b etw een th e in sid e and o u tsid e o f
th e case.




The second is best met by proper provision and m aintenance o f the overall
suits, gloves, w ashing accommodation, and meal room required by the R egula­
tions of the Home Office (se e A ppendix), and the personal cleanliness of the
The third effect is most marked if the stomach is empty. It is recommended
that milk or cocoa should be provided for those who w ant it before commencing
w o rk ; suitable canteen arrangem ents are very necessary. Alcohol dissolves
TNT, and symptoms are markedly brought out after alcoholic indulgence.
W orkers are advised to eat potatoes, green vegetables, and uncooked fru it—
especially apples. As drinks, orange or lemon juice or lim e juice are all good.
Symptoms may develop quickly, especially w here there has been exposure
in a confined space. The best treatm ent in such circum stances is inhalation
of oxygen ( see p. 7 ), a cylinder o f which (w ith suitable connections) should
be kept in readiness.
(2) Local effects— derm atitis or eczema. TNT sets up in some workers an
irritating rash on the arms. Such cases should be referred for treatm ent to
the doctor who w ill exam ine those coming into contact w ith the m aterial once
at least every month. Sleeves should not be rolled up. Gloves if worn require
careful supervision, as men are very careless about them. N aturally, if TNT
gets inside the gloves they are worse than useless. The cuff o f the glove should
be inside, that is, under the sleeve o f the overall w hich m ust be fastened
securely at the w rist. A ll openings in overalls should fasten securely and
overlap, if possible. Evidence accum ulates to show th at if the w ashing fa cilities
are suitable, and are regularly used by the workers, the hands being thoroughly
dried afterwards, occurrence o f eczema is rare.
T oxic jaundice is one of the diseases which, if contracted in a factory, must
be notified to the factory department. The occupier is required to report
every such case to the district inspector and to the certifying surgeon, and
the medical practitioner in attendance has also to report it to the chief
inspector (S. 73, Factory Act, 1901, and Order of 27th November, 1915).
Any workman m eeting w ith an injury, however trivial it may seem, in the
execution of his duty, should report it to h is foreman. Sim ilarly he should

A persistent cough due to no known cau se;
Unaccustomed shortness of breath;
F atigue not explained by exertion;
Pains coming on suddenly in th e feet and legs.

Such symptoms should not be disregarded because they are trivial. In fact,
they are only trivial if attended to in time. They may indicate the slight be­
ginnings of poisoning, the effects of which rapidly become serious if the poison­
ous influences are not counteracted.
In the case of minor injuries causing abrasion to the skin, however slight, the
worker is not to touch, w ash, or attem pt to dress the w o u n d ; he or she is to go
to the nearest place where first-aid dressings are kept and have th e wound at­
tended to by the person in charge of the first-aid dressing box.



Remedies for acid burns m ust be applied very promptly. The utm ost care is
to be used in dealing w ith acid burns to the eyes* When any acid gets into the
eyes, they are to be attended to at once by the person in charge of the first-aid
dressing box.

Workers are to remember th at the effects of breathing irritating gases, such
as nitrous fumes, may not m anifest them selves for several hours. A worker is,
therefore, to report im m ediately to his im m ediate superior if, either under ex­
ceptional conditions, or during ordinary work, he is subjected to the action of
such gases, or should he, in the performance o f h is ordinary duty, feel the
effects of such gases.
P re v e n tio n . —Notices, w arning those employed of the danger of rem aining
in an atmosphere containing nitrous fum es, should be posted in places where
there is any possibility of these fum es escaping. ( S ee pp. 11-13.)
Em ergency helm ets of such a pattern that they can be easily and quickly put
on, and provided w ith a fresh air supply from w ithout, should be kept in ac­
cessible places at hand, and the efficiency o f such helm ets should be tested a t
least once a month.
R espirators, such as are effectual in intercepting dust, are u seless against
gases and m ust not be used. A w et handkerchief absorbs the fum es to some
extent but should not be relied on except when the fum es are slight.1
T he U se o f A ir H e lm e ts .— In the departm ent producing or employing acids or
dealing w ith irritating or injurious gases or fum es, emergency operations in­
cluding urgent repairs, the result of accident or otherwise, are, when there is
evolution of fum es, to be controlled by some responsible person.
Air helm ets are to be used in all such cases unless the person in charge con­
siders the chances of saving life, or m inim izing injury to workers, are increased
by not using them. In such cases he is to take every other precaution possible
to reduce risk to the worker carrying on the necessary operations.
Ordinary repairs or alterations where fum es are liable to be present are to be
dealt w ith as above. Such operations are to be carried out under the super­
vision of some responsible person.
Air helm ets may either be supplied w ith air from taps provided on the com­
pressed air mains, through a suitable pressure-reducing arrangement or, when
compressed air is not available or convenient, from the bellows provided.
T r e a tm e n t .— In a case of gassing by nitrous fum es a doctor should be sent for
at once. The follow ing routine may usefu lly be pursued pending his a r r iv a l:
Make the patient lie down.
Keep him warm.
See that he has plenty of fresh air.
I f he is blue in the face—
Adm inister o x y g e n ; and
If he has not been sick, give a drink of 1 ounce o f salt in 10 ounces of
lukewarm water, and repeat the dose until he is sick.
Persons even apparently slightly affected must not be allowed to w alk home
until permitted to do so by the doctor.
1 A b e tte r p r o te c tio n w o u ld be a resp ir a to r m ade up o f 20 fo ld s o f b u tte r m u slin
w h ic h h a s been p r e v io u sly soaked in t h e s t r i p in a s o lu tio n c o n ta in in g w a sh in g soda 80
p a rts, g ly c e rin 15 p a rts, and w a te r 10 0 pa rts, an d fitted w ith e la stic to keep it clo se to
th e face. A fte r u se th e r esp ir a to r sh o u ld be discard ed .



The cylinder should be provided w ith a lever key, nipple and union, together
w ith a rubber tube at the end of which is a glass or metal mouthpiece. Open
the valve gradually by tapping the lever key (w hich must first be extended to
its full length) w ith the w rist until the oxygen flows in a gentle stream from
th e mouthpiece into the patient's mouth. The lips should not be closed round
the mouthpiece. The nostrils should be closed during breathing in and opened
during breathing out.
I f the teeth are set, close the lips and one nostril. Let the conical end of
the mouthpiece slightly enter the other nostril during breathing in and remove
it for breathing out.

Place the patient face downwards.
Kneel at the side of the patient and place your hands flat in the sm all of h is
back, writh thumbs nearly touching, and the fingers spread out on each side
of the body over the low est ribs.
Then promote artificial breathing by leaning forward over the patient, and,
w ithout violence, produce a firm, steady downward pressure. N ext release all
pressure by sw inging your body backwards w ithout liftin g your hands from the
Repeat this pressure and relaxation o f pressure, w ithout any marked pause
between the movements, a b o u t fifte e n tim e s a m in u te , until breathing is

Do not touch it.
Do not bandage or wipe it w ith a handkerchief or rag of any kind.
Do not wT
ash it.
A llow the blood to dry and so close the wound n a tu r a lly ; then apply a
sterilized dressing and bandage.
I f the bleeding does not stop, apply sterilized dressing and sterilized wool,
then bandage firmly.
I f the wound is soiled w ith road dirt or other foul m atter, swab freely w ith
wool soaked in the iodine so lu tio n 2 (w hich may be provided in the form o f
am poules) and allow the wound to dry before applying sterilized dressing.

Do not touch it.
Do not apply oil or grease of any kind.
Sprinkle the burn w ith powdered bicarbonate of soda. Omit this if the burn
is not caused by acid.
Apply a sterilized burn dressing o f suitable size.
How ever slight the burn, if the area affected is extensive the doctor must be
1 T h is a p p a ra tu s sh o u ld be in ch a rg e o f n o t le ss th a n tw o p erson s in s tr u c te d in it s
u se. I t sh o u ld be th e ir d u ty to g a u g e th e cy lin d er s (by m ean s o f a p ressu re g a u g e )
w h e n ev er th e y h a v e been u sed, an d to see th a t th ey are a d eq u a tely c h arged for fu tu r e
u se . T h e a p p a ra tu s sh o u ld be e x a m in ed once a m o n th by th em , w h e n th e co n d itio n o f
th e m o u th p iece and o f th e rubber tu b in g sh o u ld be observed. * I f th e rubber becom es
ha rd and dry w arm w a te r w ill resto re th e p lia b ility .
2 A n a lc o h o lic so lu tio n c o n ta in in g 2 per cen t o f iodine.



Destroy all dressings w hich have been opened but not u s e d ; they soon become
infected wT microbes from the air and then are not safe to use.
Read the instructions on the dressings and adhere to them strictly.
Do not remove any dressing until the wound is healed, but, if the injured
part becomes painful and begins to throb, arrange for the doctor to see the
patient at once.

A n A c id B u r n .— Brush the affected eyeball thoroughly w ith solution No. I.1

Then apply solution No. 2 2 in the same way.
I n str u c tio n s to c h e m ist fo r m a k in g ey e drops.— W eig h 95 gram s o f c a sto r o il in to
a flask cap ab le o f h o ld in g tw ic e th e q u a n tity . A dd 0.5 gram s o f pow dered cocain e.
W arm on a w a te r b a th t il l d isso lv ed . W h ile th e so lu tio n is s t ill w arm (b u t n o t h o t)
add 1 cubic c en tim e te r o f a so lu tio n c o n ta in in g 3 .3 gram s o f m ercu ric ch lorid e in
1 0 0 cubic c en tim e te r s o f a b so lu te a lc o h o l.
M ix th e so lu tio n s by r o ta tin g th e flask.
A b o u t h a lf a n ounce, or 15 c.c., o f th is so lu tio n sh o u ld be su p p lied in a b o ttle , from
th e cork o f w h ic h a c a m e l’s-h a ir brush is p en d en t in th e fluid.

Apply an eye-pad and tie up w ith clean handkerchief or bandage.
Send patient to the doctor a t once .
A F o re ig n B o d y . — Apply the eye drops to the affected eyeball by means of the
cam el’s-hair brush in the bottle.
Do no try to remove any particle which can not be brushed away.
T ie up w ith a clean handkerchief or bandage.
Send patient to the doctor a t once .
ATote.— Danger from minor injuries arises from blood poisoning which is
caused wT
hen microbes infect a wound. The m ajority of wounds are at first
“ clean,” that is, they are not infected w ith m icrob es; such infection usually
occurs later and comes from handkerchiefs or other m aterials applied to stop
bleeding or to wipe aw ay blood, and, in the case of eye injuries, from efforts
to remove fixed particles, w ith unclean instrum ents. I t is b e tte r to le a v e a
w o u n d alon e th a n to in tro d u c e m ic ro b e s b y im p r o p e r tr e a tm e n t. The congeal­
ing of blood is nature’s w ay of closing wounds against infection, and should
not be interfered with.
Burns and scalds, w hen the skin is not broken, w ill heal if le ft alone; all
that is necessary is rest and a protective covering. W hen blisters form they
must not be pricked, except under medical advice.
Rest is an im portant aid to healing. A short rest at first allow s healing to
commence and often saves a long rest later. An injured hand or finger can be
rested in a sling, and an injured eye by a bandage, but an injured foot or toe
can only be rested in bed.
1. Workmen are warned against breathing brown acid fumes.
2. A lw ays put on the air helm et before repairing leaks or entering, or re­
m aining in, a part of the room heavily charged w ith the fumes.
3. The fum es if breathed may cause shortness o l breath some hours later and
lead to serious illness.
4. If these sym ptoms develop at home send at once for a doctor, and mean­
w hile keep in the open air as much as possible.
1 S o lu tio n N o. 1 : — Sod ium b ica rb o n a te, 15 g r a in s ; w a ter, 1 ounce.
2 S o lu tio n N o. 2 :— E y e D rops— C ocaine, 0 .5 per c e n t ; H yd. P erch lor, 1 in 3,0 0 0 in
c a sto r oil.
3 T h is p a r t is issu ed sep a r a te ly a s a p la ca rd (F o rm 3 5 8 ).



5. I f they develop at the works send at once for the doctor. Pending his
arrival, the right treatm ent is to—
Make the patient lie down.
Keep him warm.
See that he has plenty of fresh air.
I f he is blue in the face—
A dm inister oxygen; and
I f he has not been sick, give a drink o f 1 ounce of salt in 10 ounces of luke­
warm water, and repeat the dose until he is sick.
6. Keep the air helm et handy and in good repair, as you never know when
you may w ant it.
I f TNT enters into the system as fum e or dust or through the bare skin it
causes changes in the blood, of which the first obvious sign is blueness of the
lips. Recovery from the symptoms, if taken in tim e and on temporary re­
m oval from contact w ith TNT, is quick and complete.
To avoid effects of T N T :—
1. D on’t keep your head over pans or vats containing molten T N T ; if
there are hoods don’t work under them.
2. Keep as much as you can to the windward side of the fum es.
3. D on’t be afraid of plenty o f ventilation in the shed.
4. Wear gloves w ithout holes in them, and don’t let TNT get inside them.
5. W ash the hands before m eals and before going hom e; and dry them
6. W ear the special clothing provided, and don’t work w ith the sleeves
rolled up.
7. Change your working clothes before going home. On no account let
TNT hang about you at home.
S. D on’t commence work on an empty stomach. M ilk is the best anti­
9. A careful man who keeps off beer and spirits has little to fear from
10. Chewing tobacco carries TNT from the fingers into the mouth.
11. I f there is dust a respirator would lessen the quantity breathed.
Give it a trial.
A p p e n d ix .

The regulations which apply in factories w here TNT is m anufactured are
printed on pp. 15 to 19. They were drawn up in 1908, and recent development
in certain processes has led to modified application o f R egulations 2-5 and 14
( c ). Although TNT is not in the heading, it is included in Schedule A.
W hile the definition of “ Employed ” is lim ited to persons employed in any
process mentioned in the schedules, it would be w ell to consider as included
under this designation all mechanics, because they may be exposed at tim es to
th e poison in greater degrees than those m erely working the process.
The follow ing suggestions are offered as to R egulations 6 -1 1 :—
R e g u la tio n s 6 -9 .— P e r io d ic M e d ica l E x a m in a tio n .

A fter each visit the appointed surgeon should sta te in w riting in the health
register the names of those (if any) whom he considers should be eith er:—
(a ) su sp e n d e d as definitely suffering from TNT symptoms, necessitating
absence from work until complete recovery, or
(&) tr a n s fe r r e d tem porarily to other work as a precautionary m easure
on account of equivocal signs.
iThis part is issued separately as a placard (Form 359)..



R u tio 1 (a).— v ll S its.
eg la n 0
O era u
I f women are employed in superintending TNT plant, overalls, consisting of
a short skirt reaching to the knees, and puttees would be appropriate.
R e g u la tio n 10 (c ) .— C loak R o o m .

The best arrangement is to have cupboards (w ith w ire fr o n t)— one for cloth­
ing put off during working hours and the other for the overall suits.
R e g u la tio n 10 ( e ) .— G loves.

Gloves of rubber, leather, chamois leather, or w ith linen back and leather
facing have all been found serviceable. For the w ay in w hich they should be
worn in relation to the overall, see p. 4.
R e g u la tio n 11.— W a sh in g A c co m m o d a tio n .

Supply of warmed w ater from a jet or spray so that w ashing of hands is done
under running w ater is, if it can be arranged, very satisfactory. Roller tow els
should be at least 15 square feet in area for every three persons employed, and
renewed daily.
The soap supplied should be the ordinary yellow or other neutral kind.
R e g u la tio n 10 (& ).— M ea l R o o m o r C a n te en ,

T his subject has been fu lly dealt w ith in the memorandum on Industrial
Canteens [Cd. 8133, 1915, price 1 d .] issued by the H ealth of Munition W orkers
The proper use of the above-mentioned appliances can only be secured by
discipline and supervision. In particular, some one person should be made
responsible for seeing to (1) cleanliness of lavatories and adequate supplies of
wrater, soap, and towels, (2) proper provision and m aintenance of overalls and
gloves, and (3) cleanliness of meal room.

e g u l a t io n s, da ted








ecem ber


it r o

x p l o s iv e s

30, 1908,
w it h


m ade

m id o




S ecretary

e r iv a t iv e s



in it r o b e n z o l



S tate,






in it r o t o l u o l .

W hereas the m anufacture of nitro and amido derivatives o f benzene, and
the m anufacture of explosives w ith use of dinitrobenzol or dinitrotoluol. have
been certified in pursuance o f Section 79 o f the Factory and W orkshop Act,
1901, to be dangerou s;
I hereby, in pursuance o f the powers conferred on me by that Act, make the
follow ing regulations, and direct th at they shall apply to all factories and
workshops in which the said m anufactures are carried on.
Provided that R egulations 1 ( a ) , 2, 3, 4, and 14 (c) shall not apply to any
process in the m anufacture of explosives in which dinitrobenzol is not used.
D e fin itio n s.

“ Employed ’* means employed in any process m entioned in the schedules.
“ Surgeon ” means the certifying factory surgeon o f the district or a duly
qualified m edical practitioner appointed by w ritten certificate o f the Chief
Inspector o f F actories, which appointment sh a ll be subject to such conditions
as may be specified in th at certificate.



“ Suspension ” means suspension by w ritten certificate in the health reg­
ister, signed by the surgeon, from employment in any process m entioned in the
D u tie s .
It shall be the duty o f the occupier to observe P art I o f these regulations.
It shall be the duty o f all persons employed to observe P art II of these
P a r t I .— D u tie s o f O ccu p iers .

1.— (« ) Every vessel containing any substance named in Schedules A or B
shall, if steam is passed into or around it, or if the tem perature of the contents
be at or above the tem perature of boiling w ater, be covered in such a w ay that
no steam or vapor shall be discharged into the open air at a less height than
tw enty feet above the heads o f the workers.
(&) In every room in which fum es from any substance named in Schedules
A or B are evolved in the process of m anufacture and are not removed as above,
adequate thorough ventilation shall be m aintained by a fan or other efficient
2. No substance named in Schedule A shall be broken by hand in a crystal­
lizing pan, nor shall any liquor containing it be agitated by hand, except by
means of an im plem ent at lea st 6 feet long.
3. No substance named in Schedule A shall be crushed, ground, or m ixed
in the crystalline condition, and no cartridge filling shall be done, except w ith
an efficient exhaust draft so arranged as to carry aw ay the dust as near as
possible to the point o f origin.
4. Cartridges shall not be filled by hand except by means of a suitable scoop.
5. Every drying stove shall be efficiently ventilated to the outside air in su c h '
manner th at hot air from the stove shall not be drawn into any workroom.
No person shall be allowed to enter a stove to remove the contents u n til a
free current of air has been passed through it.
6. A health register, containing the names of all persons employed, shall
be kept in a form approved by the Chief Inspector of Factories.
7. No person shall be new ly employed for more than a fortnight w ithout a
certificate of fitness granted after exam ination by the surgeon by signed entry
in the health register.
8. Every person employed shall be exam ined by the surgeon once in each
calendar month (or at such other intervals as may be prescribed in w riting
by the Chief Inspector of F actories) on a date o f w hich due notice shall be
given to all concerned.
9. The surgeon shall have power of suspension as regards all persons em­
ployed, and no person after suspension shall be employed w ithout w ritten
sanction from the surgeon entered in the health register.
10. There shall be provided and m aintained for the use of all persons em­
(a ) suitable overalls or su its of working clothes which shall be col­
lected at the end o f every d ay’s work, and (in the case of over­
alls) w ashed or renewed at least once every w eek; and
(&) a suitable m eal room, separate from any room in which a process
mentioned in the schedules is carried on, unless the w orks are
closed during meal hours; and
(c ) a suitable cloakroom for clothing put off during working hours; and
( d ) a suitable place, separate from the cloakroom and m eal room, for
the storage of the overalls;



For the use of a ll persons handling substances named in the schedules—
(e) india-rubber gloves, which shall be collected, examined, and cleansed,
at the close of the day’s work and shall be repaired or renewed
when defective, or other equivalent protection for the hands
against contact;
For the use of all persons employed in processes m entioned in Schedule A—
( / ) clogs or other suitable protective footwear.
11. There shall be provided and m aintained in a cleanly state and in good
repair for the use of all persons em ployed:—
A lavatory under cover, w ith a sufficient supply of clean towels, renewed
daily, and o f soap and nail brushes, and w ith e ith e r ;—
(a ) a trough w ith a smooth im pervious surface, fitted w ith a w aste
pipe w ithout plug, and of such length as to allow at least two feet for
every five such persons, and having a constant supply of warm w ater
from taps or jets above the trough at intervals of not more th an two
feet; or
(&) at lea st one lavatory basin for every five such persons, fitted
w ith a w aste pipe and plug or placed in a trough having a w^aste pipe
and having either a constant supply of hot and cold w ater or warm
w ater laid on, or (if a constant supply of heated w ater be not reason­
ably practicable) a constant supply of cold wT
ater laid on and a sup­
ply of hot w ater alw ays at hand when required for use by persons
em ployed;
For the use of all persons employed in processes mentioned in Schedules
A and B—
sufficient and suitable bath accommodation (douche or other)
w ith hot and cold w ater laid on and a sufficient supply of soap and
towels. Provided that the chief inspector may in any particular
case approve of the use of public baths, if conveniently near, under the
conditions (if any) named in such approval.
12. No person shall be allowed to introduce, keep, prepare, or partake of
any food, drink, or tobacco in any room in which a process mentioned in the
schedules is carried on.
P a r t I I .— D u tie s o f P e rso n s E m p lo y e d .

13. Every person employed sh a ll:—
( a ) present h im self at the appointed tim e for exam ination by the sur­
geon as provided in R egulation 8;
(&) w ear the overalls or suit of working clothes provided under Regu­
lation 10 (a ) , and deposit them, and clothing put off during
working hours, in the places provided under R egulation 10 (c)
and ( d ) ;
(c) use the protective appliances supplied in respect o f any process in
which he is en gaged ;
( d ) carefully clean the hands before partaking of any food or leaving
the prem ises;
(e ) take a bath at least once a week, and w hen the m aterials mentioned
in the schedules have been spilt on the clothing so as to w et the
skin. Provided that (e ) sh all not apply to persons employed in
processes mentioned in Schedule C, nor to persons exem pted by
signed entry o f the surgeon in the health register.

'92776°—Bull. 219—17----- 9



14. No person employed shall—
(a ) after suspension, work in any process mentioned in the schedules
w ithout w ritten sanction from the surgeon entered in the health
reg iste r ;
(&) introduce, keep, prepare, or partake o f any food, drink, or tobacco,
in any room in w hich a process mentioned in the schedules is
carried o n ;
(c ) break by hand in a crystallizing pan any substance named in
Schedule A, or agitate any liquor containing it by hand, except by
m eans of an im plement at least 6 feet long;
( d ) interfere in any way, w ithout the concurrence o f the occupier or
manager, w ith the means and appliances provided for the removal
of the fum es and dust, and for the carrying out o f these regu­
H. J. G l a d s t o n e ,
One o f H is M a jesty* s P rin c ip a l S e c r e ta r ie s o f S ta te .
H o m e Office, W h ite h a ll ,
3 0 th D e c e m b e r , 1908.
S c h e d u le s .

A.— Processes in the m anufacture of—
Parani trochlorbenzol.
B .— Processes in the m anufacture o f—
Anilin oil.
A nilin hydrochloride.
C.—Any process in the m anufacture o f explosives w ith u se o f dinitrobenzol or

S e c t i o n 1. B u ild in g s .—The buildings in w hich nitro and amido compounds
are m anufactured or are regularly recovered in considerable quantities shall
be properly ventilated.
B uildings in which tw ice or more nitrated compounds o f benzol or of toluene
or of phenol are m anufactured shall be of fire-resisting m aterial, or sh all be
separated from other buildings.
S e c . 2. P la tfo r m s .— It is recommended that platform s be so erected that
there shall rem ain a free space at least equal in surface to a quarter of the
floor space of the building. (I t is recommended to leave betw een platform s
and the outer w alls either a free space or a space covered by sla ts 1 to 1
meter wide, and the area of th is space is to be added to the free space in
calculating the latter.)
The distance of the larger platform s from the floor and from each other
shall be 10 feet, as far as possible and practical. For sm aller platform s a
sm aller distance is permitted, provided th a t it does not interfere w ith the
ventilation of the building.
On top of m elting kettles and d istillin g apparatus, such platform s only shall
be built as are absolutely necessary for the proper handling of the apparatus,
and care should be taken th at all apparatus be so constructed that vapors and
gases can not escape and thereby injure those obliged by reason o f their duties
to be upon said platforms.
P latform s on w hich work is regularly carried on w ith nitro and amido com­
pounds shall be light and easy to clean— covered w ith sheet lead where
P latform s shall be equipped w ith railings and toe boards in accordance w ith
the safety standards on these subjects of th e industrial board of th is Com­
S e c . 3. F lo o rs .—The floor o f the workroom and the storage room shall be
nonabsorbent, smooth and easy to clean. W here necessary wooden or cement
floors are permissible.
S e c . 4. W a lls .— The w alls of the workroom shall be kept clean.
I f painted
w ith calcim ine they shall be repainted at least once a year. W indows which
can be opened shall be provided on at lea st two sides.
S e c . 5. R o o f .— I f necessary the roof shall have a sufficient number of ven­
tilators or other appliances w hich allow sufficient ventilation o f the workroom
and w hich can be kept open, even if it rains. W indows or skylights shall be
so constructed that they can be operated from the floor or platform. Skylights
in the roof shall be constructed of w ire glass.




Sec. 6. M a n u fa c tu re .— The work in the above factories shall be regulated
in such manner that the men do not come in direct physical contact w ith nitro
and amido compounds. It is therefore recommended, when practicable, that
liquid nitro and amido compounds be transported through closed pipe lines
either by pumping, blowing, suction or by gravity.
As a general rule gravity or suction is to be preferred because in the use
o f compressed air fine parts of the compounds go off w ith the air. It is also
necessary that spent compressed air be vented outside. If, in the latter case,
this is obnoxious to the neighborhood, it is suggested that the spent air shall
be purified before being expelled. The same refers to the air which is expelled
from vacuum pumps o f d istillin g apparatus, as it frequently contains sm all
quantities o f anilin, etc.
Liquid nitro and amido compounds shall be kept and stored only in covered
vessels. W herever the above nitro and amido compounds are handled in such
a manner that dust, gases, or vapors are generated, especially in powdering,
sifting, and packing operations, the work shall be carried on as far as prac­
ticable in covered or closed apparatus. The vapors from receivers of d istillates
shall be excluded from work buildings.
Chiseling out of solid nitro and amido compounds, which are explosive, is
strictly forbidden; and, when poisonous, is perm itted only if proper precau­
tions are taken.
D rying should be done in separate buildings used for drying only, or in
properly constructed apparatus.
Frequently drying can be avoided by m elting the nitro and amido compounds
and breaking them up when cold.
W here boilers are fed w ith w ater containing anilin, the boiler shall be fitted
ith suitable safety valves and w ater glasses which absolutely prevent the
entering of steam or w ater containing anilin into the workroom.
W hen in the judgm ent of the com m issioner of labor and industry, or h is „
authorized representative, it is deemed necessary, all apparatus and machinery
in which nitro and amido compounds are manufactured, transported, treated,
distilled, centrifuged, filtered, dried, ground, mixed, etc., packed, or filled shall
be fitted w ith a reliable attachm ent, which removes such dust, gases, or vapors
which may be generated.
Special care should be taken so th a t all vapors which are generated in the
opening, discharging, and filling o f dry rooms, m elting kettles, autoclaves, and
other pressure vessels w ill be harm lessly disposed of, when in the judgm ent o f
the commissioner o f labor and industry or his authorized representative it is
deemed necessary to do so.
S e c . 7. C lea n lin e ss .— The workroom shall be kept as free from nitro and
amido compounds as possible. I f any of the above compounds are spilled,
they shall be removed as soon as possible. The floor shall be cleaned at least
once every 24 hours.
Sec. 8. H e a lth p re c a u tio n s .— The employer shall inform th e w w kingm en em­
ployed in the m anufacture, etc., o f the above nitro and amido compounds
a s to the poisonous quality of these products and the necessity of strictly
observing the follow ing p recau tion s:
Shirts, overalls, caps, stockings, shoes, gloves, and other w earing apparel
w hich have become saturated w ith poisonous nitro or amido compounds in
such manner that the skin comes in im mediate contact w ith them shall be
im m ediately taken off, the skin washed first w ith vinegar and then w ith w ater,
and the employee m ust then put on clothing which has not been in contact
w ith these substances.



Employees shall be warned th at the use o f alcoholic liquors and chewing
tobacco is harm ful to their health. Smoking in th e workroom is strictly
Food shall be neither kept nor eaten in the workroom. A suitable dining
room, absolutely separate from the workroom, where necessary, shall be pro­
vided. Em ployees shall not be allowed to enter th is room until they have
washed both face and hands. For th is purpose w ash and dressing rooms and
bathrooms, absolutely separate from the workroom, shall be provided. T hese
rooms shall be suitably fitted up, kept clean, and properly heated. Nobody
shall be allow ed to keep any w earing apparel in the workroom. A ll process
men shall dress in the dressing or w ash room provided. Each process man
shall be provided w ith tw o lockers, one for h is working and one for h is street
clothing, or a properly divided double locker, t>r such other method for storing
clothing as shall be approved by the com m issioner of labor and industry or h is
authorized representative. An approved number of w ashing appliances shall
be provided. Soap and tow els shall be furnished in suitable number and free
o f charge.
It is recommended that every working man who comes in contact w ith the
above nitro and amido compounds shall take a bath daily before he leaves
the factory.
Men who suffer from inflammation of the bladder should not be employed
in the above factories.
Men who are addicted to the use of alcoholic liquors must not be employed,
and no employee upon whom the odor of alcoholic liquor is detected shall be
allowed to enter the factory.
It is recommended th at process men be between the ages o f 22 and 50 years.
It is also recommended th at applicants for employment presenting evidences
of anemia or of em aciation should not be employed as process men by reason
of their increased susceptibility.
The employment o f fem ales except in the office, or works hospital, or w el­
fare room or building is prohibited.
T oilets shall be provided in accordance w ith the sanitary code of the
industrial board o f th is Commonwealth.
The employer shall provide and m aintain a sufficient number of sanitary
drinking fountains, readily accessible, for the use of all employees.
All process men should be cautioned of the danger of commencing work on
an empty stomach.
It is recommended th at those who suffer from excessive perspiration should
not be employed as process men.
B odily cleanliness is essential to good health; It is recommended th at those
em ployees who do not take frequent baths be not employed as process merv
Process men are those employees whose work brings them in im m ediate con­
tact w ith nitro and amido compounds, either in the m anufacture o f those com­
pounds or in the repair of apparatus used in their manufacture. The term
does not include em ployees whose duty is in the power plants, nor other
em ployees whose work does not bring them in such contact.
Sec. 9. R e p a ir s .—All repairs and changes on the machinery, apparatus, and
pipes for nitro and amido compounds shall be made only after they have been
thoroughly cleaned.
All work in the inside of apparatus, vessels, boilers, etc., shall be done in
accordance w ith the follow ing rules of procedure:
I f it is necessary for an employee to enter any vats, tanks, or other con­
tainers in which there have been used, stored, or m anufactured gases, fumes,



or vapors of an asphyxiating or poisonous nature, or m aterials w hich give off
.gases, fum es, or vapors of an asphyxiating or poisonous nature, the follow ing
procedure shall be p u rsu ed :
(а ) E m p ty c o n ta in e r s .— D isconnect and blank off all connections.
(б ) Clean containers thoroughly by repeated w ashings w ith w ater, soda
water, steam, compressed air, or other suitable means.
I f the person in charge then considers conditions satisfactory, em ployees
may enter such containers. They m ust use an approved type of helm et and
have attached to their bodies a life line or rope if the person in charge con­
siders it necessary.
($ ) The life line or rope shall be under the control of one or more fellow
workmen who shall remain outside of the container in order th a t they may
render assistan ce if necessary.
(e )
A fter the work is finished the men should take, a t once, a bath and
change their clothing, including shoes, if the forem an or other person in charge
shall deem it necessary. F a cilities for taking such baths shall be provided.
The superintendent o f the plant shall be held responsible for the enforcem ent
of these regulations.
A copy of the rules for procedure as given above w ill be furnished by the
departm ent of labor and industry, and shall be conspicuously posted at every
place in each plant where asphyxiating or poisonous fum es, gases, or vapors
may be found.
S e c . 10. R e s u s c ita tio n .— For every fifty (50) process men or less employed in
such plant and exposed to such risk there shall be present a t all tim es at least
tw o persons who are trained or competent to apply m eans o f resuscitation by
the prone pressure or Schaeffer method or by mechanical devices approved by
the industrial board o f th is Commonwealth.
A sufficient number of helm ets of a type approved by the industrial board of
th is Commonwealth shall be kept at each plant, in order th a t they may be avail­
able for use by every employee who has occasion to enter places where there
m ay be asphyxiating or poisonous gases, fum es, or vapors.
All em ployees w ho are required by the employer to wear helm ets in m aking
repairs or in m aintenance work shall be thoroughly instructed in the use of
such apparatus and be physically exam ined by a licensed physician at least
once in ninety dajrs or after absence from work due to either sickness or acci­
dent and the physician shall certify to the proper physical condition of the
men so employed and no employee shall be permitted to do such repair work
unless so examined and certified. The examining' physician shall report the
results of these exam inations, w ith in 48 hours after each exam ination, to the
com m issioner of labor and industry of th is Commonwealth, upon blanks which
w ill be furnished upon request.
Oxygen inhalation apparatus sh all be kept on hand and the forem en and
authorized em ployees shall be instructed in its use. In all cases in w hich the
apparatus has been used a physician shall at once be called or the sick employee
removed to a hospital. A supply o f oxygen or the m eans for its production m ust
be kept on hand.
I f oxygen tanks are used at lea st two must be kept on hand at all times, one
of w hich shall be full.
S e c . 11. P h y s ic a l e x a m in a tio n .—All applicants for employment as process men
shall be physically exam ined by a licensed physician either before commencing
work or before the expiration of 24 hours after their employment.
All process men shall be physically reexam ined by a licensed physician at
least once in every 30 days and before resum ing work after an absence due to
sickness or to accident or to any other cause.



T hese exam inations sh all each consist in the determ ination and recording of
the follow ing facts, either in a book or upon a c a r d :
N am e___________________________ ; A g e ___________________________
A dd ress_________________________ ; P rocess_______________________
H e ig h t________________ ; W eight_________________________________
P u lse__________ ; Blood pressure__________; Haem oglobin__________
Exam ination of urine— R eaction________ ; Specific gravity_________
Albumen____________ ; Sugar--------------------; Casts-------------------The records of these exam inations shall at all tim es be open for inspection by
the commissioner o f labor and industry o f this Commonwealth or his authorized
The exam ining physician shall report the results of these exam inations to the
commissioner of labor and industry of th is Commonwealth w ithin 48 hours after
such exam inations, upon blanks which w ill be furnished upon request.
It shall be the duty of the exam ining physician to request the factory manager
or superintendent to suspend from work any process man wT
hom he believes to
be suffering from poisoning, and it shall be his further duty to report such case
to the department of labor and industry of this Commonwealth upon the fol­
low ing b la n k :

D epartm ent of L abo r a n d

I nd u str y

Report of Case of Occupational Disease

Please mail this report in all
cases of either suspected or diag­
nosed industrial disease to Dr.
Francis D . Patterson, Chief of
Division of Industrial Hygiene
and Engineering, Department
of Labor and Industry, 511
Kunkel Building, Harrisburg,
Pa., who will furnish additional
copies of this blank upon

Name of P atien t..............................................................................................................................................................
Address, Street and N um ber........................................ City or village........................County............................
S ex ........... A ge------ Color.............. N ativity............
S. M. W. D. Number of dependents.....................

A . Diagnosis of present illness..................................
B . Chief sym ptom s.......................................................


Present trade, profession or work.......................
E xact occupation in this trade...........................
D ate of entering this trad e....................................
Date of commencing this work...........................
Previous occunations

C. D ate first symptoms' appeared............................
D . Complicating diseases............................................

Name of occupation.

E . Additional facts.......................................................




F. Date of di
G. Date of tl lis report..................................................

F . Previous illness, if any, due to occupation. ,..
G. Em ployer’s nam e....................................................
H . Em ployer’s address, street and num ber.........
City or village..................................................
T. Employer’s business................................................

Signet1...............................................M. D .
Ad dress, Street and number...............
City or village......................................

It shall be the duty of the employer to provide, w ithout expense to the
employee, a hosptial room or dispensary, separate and apart from the workroom
or rooms, w hich room shall be equipped w ith a couch, bed, or surgical table,



tw o pairs o f wT
oolen blankets, tw o hot-water bottles, two tanks (one com pletely
fu ll) o f oxygen and the necessary apparatus for adm inistering the same, an
oxygen helm et for rescue work, such device or devices for artificial respiration
as are approved by the approvals committee o f the industrial board of this
Commonwealth, and a shower bath w ith hot and cold w ater, and a toilet, w hich
toilet shall comply w ith the sanitary code o f the industrial board of th is
At least one stretcher shall be provided.
I t shall be the further duty o f all employers to keep in a book or on a card
a- record o f all employees, show ing their exact employment and all changes to
other work, w hich record shall at all tim es be open for inspection by the com­
m issioner of labor and industry of this Commonwealth or h is authorized
S e c . 12. S cope. — Beyond the regular regulations for the erection and conduct­
ing of factories in which poisonous nitro and amido compounds are m anufac­
tured or regularly recovered in considerable quantities, the follow ing additional
regulations shall govern the m anufacture of trinitrotoluol and amm unition
from it.
Sec. 13. B u ild in g s. — T rinitrotoluol shall be m anufactured in a special plant
w hich is an approved distance from other factories or portions o f factories.
B uildings in w hich tw ice or more nitrated compounds o f benzol or tw ice or
more nitrated compounds of toluol are m anufactured shall be o f fire-resisting
m aterial or shall be separated from other buildings.
Trinitrotoluol factories w hich are not on the land o f an explosives factory
shall be surrounded by a fence w hich prevents the entering o f outsiders. A t
the gates proper signs shall be provided w hich prohibit the entrance o f un­
authorized outsiders. Smoking upon the prem ises shall be prohibited.
S e c . 14. N itr a tio n . —N itration shall be performed in high, airy rooms, allow ing
easy escape o f vapors, and in w hich no nitrated product is stored or handled in
a dry condition. There shall be an approved number o f easily accessible exits.
Sec. 15. S to ra g e o f a c id s. — The storage o f spent acids is best done in tanks
standing in the open air and only roofed over.
Sec. 16. W a sh in g a n d c e n trifu g in g . —All w ashing and centrifuging operations
shall be performed in a building in which no nitrated product is stored. Ample
ventilation shall be provided.
S e c . 17. R e c r y s ta lliz a tio n . —The recrystallizing of the crude trinitrotoluol w ith
easily inflammable solvents, such as alcohol, benzol, or toluol, shall take place
in a building standing alone. A ll solution tubs, crystallizing vessels, centrifuges,
and conveying apparatus shall be closed in such manner th at vapors in dan­
gerous quantities can not escape into the workroom. Proper ventilation of th e
workroom shall be provided. A ll platform s in th is building shall have an ex it
into the open air.
S e c . 18. D r y in g . — The drying of the trinitrotoluol shall be carried on in a
building standing alone. The separation o f the pure trinitrotoluol from th e
solvent may be done in the building for the recrystallizing if the apparatus
provided avoids accumulation.
S e c . 19. P a ck in g . —A ll packing shall be done in separate packing houses.
S e c . 20. S to ra g e . — T rinitrotoluol shall be stored in separate stock rooms, pro­
tected by an approved type o f barricade. The location of the stock rooms from
the nearest m anufacturing building shall be at an approved distance.
S e c . 21. S to ra g e o f in fla m m a b le so lv e n ts. — The storage tanks of inflammable
solvents or of toluol shall be constructed in such a manner that the contents of



the tanks, in case of leakage, can not run over the surroundings. W herever
practicable, storage vessels should be below ground. I f the above solvents are
stored above ground, they shall be stored in an approved manner. Storage in
open air in iron drums in a suitable place is permissible.
Earth embankments o f sufficient height to hold the contents o f tanks in case
o f leakage shall be placed around all tanks of inflammable m aterials when such
tanks are located above ground.
S e c . 22. M a n u fa c tu re o f a m m u n itio n .— The m anufacture of amm unition from
trinitrotoluol shall be conducted in a separate building or plant. For the
storage of the amm unition the same regulations govern as for the storage of
the trinitrotoluol.
S e c . 23. D o o r s — A ll doors which lead into the open air shall open outward.
Sec. 24. N itr a tin g a p p a ra tu s . — A ll nitrating vessels shall have reliable appli­
ances for stirring and for the regulation of the tem perature as w ell as ven tilat­
ing apparatus for the removal of the vapor.
Sec. 25. D r y in g a p p a ra tu s . — I f the drying is done on sm all drying hand trays
the heating elem ents shall be arranged in such a manner jthat the m aterial to
be dried or the dust can not come in direct contact w ith them. The tem pera­
ture in the drying chambers shall not exceed 60° C. All drying apparatus
shall be constructed in such manner th at the gases can escape easily w ithout
dangerous pressure, if the trinitrotoluol should ignite.
I f the drying is done in large drying pans, hot w ater or low-pressure stekm
at not over 20 pounds pressure per square inch shall be employed for heating.
The contents shall be kept in constant motion and the apparatus shall be
constructed so as to prevent the escape of vapors into the workroom.
Sec. 26. D u s t. —The drying and sh iftin g apparatus shall be so constructed
as to prevent as far as practical the escape of dust. A ll w alls, floors, radia­
tors, electric bulbs, etc., shall be kept free from the accum ulation o f trini­
trotoluol dust. A ll employees shall be provided w ith respirators, cloths, or
sponges for their protection against dust, w ithout cost.
S e c . 27. F ire p re v e n tio n . — In rooms in which there are easily inflammable
solvents or dried TNT (trin itrotoluol), electric motors, electric bells, or other
sparking apparatus shall not be employed. C entrifugals sh a ll not have a brake
nor shall it be allowed to brake them in any manner. Oily w aste shall be kept
outside the workroom in safety cans which shall be cleaned frequently. In all
drying, breaking, and siftin g operations the friction o f iron against iron shall
not be permitted.
S e c . 28. R e fu se . — Impure trinitrotoluol shall be refined and purified before
being used. A ll refuse from the nitration or recrystallizing rooms which is
still useful shall be removed from the above rooms and shall be kept in a
special room until it is refined. It shall not be perm issible to bury any refuse
which contains trinitrotoluol. Such refuse shall be placed in containers and
shall be destroyed from tim e to tim e under the supervision of an experienced
S e c . 29. R e p a ir s . — Repairs on apparatus and other tools w hich have been
in contact w ith trinitrotoluol are perm issible only after they have been thor­
oughly cleaned. The rem elting of old vessels, lead pipe, etc., is perm issible
only after they have been burned off on an open fire. All other vessels,
etc., which have become u seless shall be treated in the sam e manner or shall
be destroyed by explosion.
S e c . 30. N itr ic acid . —In view of the danger to the worker from inhalation
o f nitrous fum es in case o f fire or of the breakage of carboys, carboys con­
tainin g nitric acid shall be stored in detached sheds w ith sandstone, brick, or
other suitable flooring, and in quantities not to exceed 100 carboys placed in



not more than four rows. N itric acid in carboys may be stored in the open
in unlim ited quantities.
The follow ing notice w ill be supplied by the departm ent o f labor and
industry on application and shall be posted at a ll places in plants where there
is danger of poisoning by acid fu m es:

c id


um es,

w a r n in g


T h e In h a la tio n o f D e n se A c id F u m e s M a y C au se D e a th .

Em ployees are strictly prohibited from entering buildings where dense acid
fum es exist, or tanks or confined spaces which are not entirely clear o f acid
fum es, unless they w ear a helmet.
Em ployees w orking in such places shall, in addition to the helmet, wear
a life line which is at all tim es in the hands of an assistan t stationed outside
o f the tank.
Employees who have been exposed to acid fum es and who feel weak, sick,
short of breath, or who are attacked w ith cramps or coughing shall report this
condition to their foreman, or to the works dispensary, or hospital at once so
that proper treatm ent can be given. D on’t w ait to get home. D elay may be
fatal. Take no chances.
R esponsibility for complying w ith these regulations shall rest w ith th e fore­
man or other person designated for th at purpose by the m anagem ent of the
F ailure to comply w ith th ese regulations may subject the offender to a
penalty o f a fine or imprisonment.



r ic e


ack so n


C o m m issio n er , D e p a r tm e n t o f L a b o r an d I n d u s tr y ,
C o m m o n w ea lth o f P e n n sy lv a n ia .

W ater shall be alw ays available for use in case of evolution o f nitrous fum es
caused by breakage or other accident to carboys, and all workers handling such
acid shall be warned against sprinkling sand, saw dust, earth, or anything other
than w ater or alkalies upon any spilled nitric acid.
At all places where there is danger of an employee becoming burned by con­
ta ct w ith acid there shall be a shower bath.
S e c . 31. A v o id a n c e o f a c cu m u la tio n s. —No more trinitrotoluol shall be kept in
the workroom than is necessary for concurrent use.
Sec. 32. S cope. — The handling and storage of all acids and other chem icals
necessary for the operation o f plants not herein provided for shall be governed
by the regulations a s set forth in the code governing the operation o f chem ical
Sec. 33. H e a tin g . — The workrooms, when desirable, shall be heated by an
approved system of steam, indirect hot air radiation, or hot w ater. The tem ­
perature of the steam shall not exceed 120° C. The radiators shall be at least
1 inch distant from all wooden w alls or other inflammable m aterial and shall be
attached in such a manner th a t they can be easily inspected and cleaned.

P a g e.
A ceton e, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f_______________________________________________________
A cta burns, tr e a tm e n t o f, In T N T m a n u fa ctu re___________________________________ 124, 1 2 5
A cid recovery (su lp h u r ic an d n itr ic a c id s ) ___________________________________________
A cids, m ixed, p h y sio lo g ic a l a e tio n o f __________________________________________________
A lco h o l and ether, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f ___________________________________________ 5 4 - 5 7
A lco h o l, in flu en ce o f, an p o iso n in g from v o la tile com pou nds_________________________ 5-7-59
A m a to l, u se o f, in fillin g s h e lls _______________________________________________________
A m ido d e r iv a tiv e s o f th e benzene series.
(S ee N itr o and am ido d e r iv a tiv e s o f th e
benzene s er ie s.)
A m m onal, use of, in fillin g s h e lls ______________________________________________________
A m m on ia gas, p h y sio lo g ica l a ctio n o f ________________________________________________
A m m onium n itr a te , m a n u fa ctu re o f __________________________________________________
A m m onium n itra te, p h y sio lo g ica l a ctio n o f ____________________________________________ 52, 53
A m y l a c eta te , p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f _________________________________________________
A n ilin , m a n u fa ctu re o f_________________________________________________________________ 88, 8 3
A n ilin , p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f ________________________________________________________ 46, 4 7
B en zen e d e r iv a tiv e s, m a n u fa ctu re of, rules and r eg u la tio n s su g g ested by M assa­
c h u se tts S ta te B oard o f Labor and I n d u str ie s__________________________________ 1 1 6 -1 2 0
B en zen e series. (S ee N itr o and am id o d e r iv a tiv e s o f benzene series.)
B en zol, p h y sio lo g ica l a ctio n o f_______________________________________________________ 2 5 -2 7
B en zol, ty p ic a l c a se s o f p o iso n in g b y ---------------------------------------------------------------------26, 27, 78
C arbolie acid.
(S ee P h en o l, o r ca rb o lic acid, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f.)
C hlorine g a s, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f __________________________________________________ 53, 54
D e rm a titis, tr e a tm e n t o f ca se s o f _____ 1 ___________________________________________ 101, 102
D im e th y la n ilin , p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f ----------------------------------------------------------------------47
D im itroch lorb en zol. (S ee N itrochlorbenzol, p h y sio lo g ica l a ctio n o f.)
D ip lien y la m in , m a n u fa ctu re o f -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------90
D ip h en y la m in , p h y sio lo g ica l a ctio n o f -----------------------------------------------------------------------47
D isp la c em en t p rocess o f n itra tio n , in m a n u fa ctu re of n itro cellu lo se.
(S ee N itro ­
c ellu lo se, m a n u fa ctu re o f.)
D istr ib u tio n o f e x p lo siv e m a n u fa ctu rin g in d u str y -----------------------------------------------------9
D u st, p rev en tio n of, in m a n u fa ctu re o f e x p lo siv e s------------------------------------------------------9 4 - 9 7
E m p loyees, ch a ra cter of, in m a n u fa ctu re o f ex p lo siv e s-----------------------------------------------10
E th er, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n of.
(S e e A lcoh ol and ether, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f.)
E ther, ty p ica l ca ses o f p o iso n in g b y---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 55, 5&
E th y l n itrite , p h y sio lo g ica l a etio n o f -------------------------------------------------------------------------52
E x p lo siv e s, lis t of, in w h ieh p o iso n o u s su b sta n ces are u se d ________________________
8, 9
E x p lo siv e s, m a n u fa ctu re o f :
A m o u n t o f in d u str ia l p oison d isco v ered in th e in q u ir y________________________ 11—
C h a ra cter o f em p lo y ees en gaged in ---------------------------------------------------------------------10
D e sc r ip tio n o f th e in d u str y -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------8, 9
D istr ib u tio n o f th e in d u str y ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------9
H ou rs o f w o rk -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11
Influ en ce o f alco h o l on p o iso n in g from v o la tile com pou nds______________________57— 9
P o iso n s, m a n u fa ctu re of, used in -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 9 -9 2
P o iso n s, p h y sio lo g ica l a e tio n o f ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 14—
P r e v e n tio n o f in d u str ia l p o iso n in g in -----------------------------------------------------------------9 2 - 9 7
R u les an d reg u la tio n s su g g ested by M a ssa c h u setts S ta te B oard o f L abor an d
I n d u str ie s-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 116— 20
S a fety sta n d a rd s o f in d u str ia l board o f P e n n sy lv a n ia D ep artm en t o f Labor
and In d u str y ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 0 3 -1 1 5
T rea tm en t o f ca ses of in d u str ia l p o iso n in g in ---------------------------------------------------- 9 9 - 1 0 2
W ages an d h o u sin g ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10, 11
E y e in ju ries, tr e a tm e n t of, in T N T m a n u fa ctu re--------------------------------------------------------125
F ir s t aid, in str u c tio n s, T N T m a n u fa ctu re----------------------------------------------------------------- 124, 125
F u lm in a te o f m ercury :
M an u factu re o f ----------------------------------------------------- 1------------------------------------------------ 90— 2
P h y sio lo g ica l a ctio n o f ____________________________________________________________ 50, 51
T rea tm en t o f ca ses o f p o iso n in g b y ----------------------------------------------------------------------102
F u m e p oison in g, num ber o f ca ses in certa in p la n ts -----------------------------------------------------73
“ Fum e sick n ess ”— n itro g en -o x id e poisoning^ p h y sio lo g ica l a e tio n o f _______________ 14 -2 3
Fum es,, p rev en tio n of, in m a n u fa ctu re o f e x p lo s iv e s -------------------------------------------------- 9 2 -9 4
F u m es, tr e a tm e n t o f c a se s o f p o iso n in g b y ----------------------------------------------------------------- 9 9 -1 0 1
G assin g, tr e a tm e n t o f, in T N T m a n u fa c tu r e --------------------------------------------------------------123
G reat B r ita in , hom e office, fa c to r y d ep a rtm en t, p re ca u tio n a r y m easu res in T N T
m a n u fa c tu r e ________________________________________________________________________1 2 1 -1 3 0
G u n co tto n , m a n u fa ctu re o f (n itr o c e llu lo s e )----------------------------------------------------------------- 6 2 -7 0
G u n co tto n , m ilita r y , m a n u fa ctu re o f ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 0 -7 2
H ours o f w ork in m a n u fa ctu re o f e x p lo siv e s--------------------------------------------------------------11
H o u sin g and w a g e s in m a n u fa ctu re of e x p lo siv e s--------------------------------------------------------10, 11
I n d u str ia l p o is o n in g :
A m oun t of, discovered in m an u factu re o f e x p lo siv e s------------------------------------------ 1 1 -1 3
P rev en tio n of^ in m a n u fa ctu re o f e x p lo siv e s--------------------------------------------------------9 2 - 9 7


Industrial poisoning—Continued.



T re a tm en t o f c a se s o f____________________________________________________________ 9 9 -1 0 2
D e r m a titis --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 101, 102
F u lm in a te o f m ercu ry_______________________________________________________
N itr o and am ido com p ou n d s_______________________________________________100, 101
N itr o u s fu m e s________________________________________________________________
P ier ic a c id ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------102
T etry l d e r m a t it is _____________________________________________________________
T r in itr o to lu o l------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------101
M a ssa c h u setts S ta te B oard o f L abor and In d u stries, rules and reg u la tio n s su g g ested
by, for sa fe ty , e tc --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 1 6 -1 2 0
M edical care, n e c essity for, in p rev en tio n o f in d u str ia l p o iso n in g ___________________
M ercury, fu lm in a te o f, m a n u fa ctu re o f _______________________________________________9 0 —
M ercury, fu lm in a te o f, tr e a tm e n t o f ca ses o f p o iso n in g b y ___________________________
M ercury, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f---------------------------------------------------------------------------------00
M eth y l benzol. ( S ee B en zo l and to lu o l, or m eth y l, benzol, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f.)
M ixed a cid s, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f__________________________________________________
N a p h th a le n e , m a n u fa ctu re of.
( See N itr o n a p h th a len es, m a n u fa ctu re o f.)
N a p h th a le n e , p h y sio lo g ica a c tio n o f.
( See N itr o n a p h th a len es, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n
o f.)
N a tio n a lity o f em p lo y ees en g a g ed in m a n u fa c tu r e o f e x p lo s iv e s ______________________
N itr a tio n , in m a n u fa ctu re o f n itro c e llu lo se .
( See N itr o c ellu lo se, m an u factu re o f.)
N itr a tio n , p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f _____________________________________________________
N itr ic a cid :
M a n u fa ctu re o f ____________________________________________________________________ 59, 6 0
P h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f ___________________________________________________________ 23, 24
R ecovery o f________________________________________________________________________
N itr o and am id o com pou nds, te n ta tiv e s a fe ty sta n d a rd s for m a n u fa ctu re o f, S ta te
o f P e n n sy lv a n ia ____________________________________________________________________1 3 1 -1 3 8
N itr o and am ido com pounds, tr e a tm e n t o f ca ses o f p o iso n in g b y--------------------------- 100, 101
N itr o and am ido d e r iv a tiv e s o f th e benzene series, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f -------------- 2 9 -4 8
A n ilin ______________________________________________________________________________ 46, 47
D im e t h y la n ilin _______________________________________ _— ,--------------------------------------47
D ip h en y la m in * ---------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------N itr o b e n z o l-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------45, 4 6
N itro ch lo rb en zo l a n d d in itr o c h lo r b e n z o l--------------------------------------------------------------46
N itr o n a p h th a le n e s ___________________________________________________ _____________
P ic r ic a c id ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ '--------------------------3 3 -3 5
T e t r a n itr a n ilin ------------------ -----------------------------------------------------j_____________________4 7 ,4 8
T etr a n itr o m e th y la n ilin , or t e t r y l-------------------------------------------------------------------------48
T rin itro to lu o l, or to lu o l, or tr ito n , or tro tly , or T N T -----------------------------------------3 5 -4 5
N itro b en zo l a n d a n a lin , m a n u fa ctu re o f_____________________________________________ 88, 89
N itr o b e n z o l, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f -----------------------------------------------------------------------------45, 46
N itr o c e llu lo s e , m a n u fa c tu r e o f ( g u n c o tto n )__________________________________________6 2 -7 0
C e n tr ifu g a l or m e c h a n ic a l n it r a t io n --------------------------------------------------------------------- 63—
D isp la c em en t p r o c ess----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------69, 70
P o t n itr a tio n or d ir e c t d ip p in g __________________________________________________ 6 6 -6 9
N itr o c h lo r b e n z o l and d in itro ch lo rb en zo l, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f ____________________
N itr o g e n ox id e p o iso n in g — “ F u m e s ic k n e ss ,” p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f _ ______________ 1 4 -2 3
N itr o g e n o x id e, ty p ic a l c a se s o f p o iso n in g b y ________________________________________ 1 8 -2 3
N itr o g ly c e rin , m a n u fa c tu r e o f _________________________________________________________79, 80
N itr o g ly c e r in , p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f_________________________________________________ 4 8 - 5 0
N itr o n a p h th a len es, m a n u fa ctu re o f ___________________________________________________
N itr o n a p h th a le n e s, p h y sio lig ic a l a c tio n o f__________ -_______________ _________________
N itr o u s fu m es p o iso n in g , tr e a tm e n t o f ca se s o f _____________________________________99, 100
N itr o u s fu m es, tr e a tm e n t o f p o iso n in g by, T N T m a n u fa c tu r e ____________________ 125, 126
N o b e l’s p ro cess in m a n u fa c tu r e o f n itr o g ly c e r in _____________________________________79. 80
( See N itro b en zo l, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f.)
O il o f m urbane.
O xygen c y lin d er, u se o f, in T N T m a n u fa c tu r e _______________________________________
P e n n sy lv a n ia , d ep a rtm en t o f la b o r a n d in d u str y , in d u s tr ia l board, s a fe ty sta n d ­
a r d s ________________________________________________________________________________ 1 0 3 -1 1 5
P e r c u ss io n caps, u se o f fu lm in a te o f m ercu ry in m a n u fa c tu r e o f __________________ 91, 92
P h e n o l, m a n u fa c tu r e o f ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 6 -7 9
P h e n o l or ca rb o lic acid , p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f --------------------------------------------------------2 7 -2 9
P h e n o l or ca rb o lic acid , ty p ic a l c a se s o f p o iso n in g b y ______________________________ 28, 29
P h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f p o iso n s.
( See P o iso n s, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f.)
P ic r ic a cid :
M a n u fa ctu re o f____________________________________________________________________ 7 2 -7 6
P h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f ____________________________________________________________ 3 3 -3 5
T rea tm en t o f ca ses o f p o iso n in g b y _____________________________________________
T y p ic a l c a se s o f p o iso n in g b y _______________________ ____________________________
P o iso n in g , in d u s t r ia l:
A m o u n t o f, d isco v ered in m a n u fa c tu r e o f e x p lo s iv e s ____________________________ 1 1 -1 3
P r e v e n tio n o f, in m a n u fa c tu r e o f e x p lo s iv e s___________________________________ 9 2 -9 7
P r e v e n tio n o f, records o f th re e m od el p la n ts ___________________________________ 97, 9 8
T re a tm en t o f ca ses of, in m a n u fa ctu re o f e x p lo s iv e s ___________________________9 9 -1 0 2
T y p ic a l c a se s o f—
B e n zo l_____________________________________________________________________ 2 6 , 2 7 ,7 8
E th e r __________________________________________________________________________ 55, 5 6
N itr o g e n ox id e— “ F u m e sick n e ss ” _______________________________________________18—
P h en o l or ca rb o lic a c id ______________________________________________________ 28, 29
P icr ic a c id ____________________________________________________________________
T r in it r o lu o l--------------------------- ^----------------------------------------------------------------------- 36—
P o iso n s , m a n u fa c tu r e o f _______________________________________________________________ 59—
A cid reco v ery (su lp h u r ic and n itr ic a c id s ) ______________________________________
A m m onium n it r a t e ________________________________________________________________
A n i l i n ______________________________________________________________________________ 88, 8 9
D ip h en y la n in ____________________________________________ ________ __________________
F u lm in a te o f m e r c u r y ____________________________________________________________ 9 0 - 9 2



P o iso n s, m a n u fa ctu re o f— C on tin u ed .
P age.
G u n co tto n ( n it r o c e llu lo s e ) ________________________________________________________6 2 -7 0
N itr ic a c id _________________________________________________________________________ 59, 60
N itro b en zo l and a n ilin _____________________________________________________________88, 89
N itr o c ellu lo se (gTE& cotton)_______________________________________________________ 6 2 -7 0
N itr o g ly c e r in _______________________________________________________________________79, 80
N itr o n a p h th a le n e s ________________________________________________________________
P h en o l______________________ _________ '_____________________________________________ 7 6 -7 9
P ic r ic a c id -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 2 -7 6
S m o k eless p ow der a n d m ilita r y g u n c o tto n _______________________________________ 70—
S u lp h u ric a c id _____________________________________________________________________ 61, 62
T e tr y l______________________________________________________________________________ 89 , 9 0
T r in it r o t o lu o l_____________________________________________________________________ 8 0 - 8 4
P o iso n s, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f _______________________________________________________ 14—
A c eto n e _____________________________________________________________________________
A lco h o l and e th e r --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 4 - 5 7
A m m on ia g a s ______________________________________________________________________
A m m onium n it r a t e ________________________________________________________________ 52, 53
A m yl a c e t a te ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------53
A n i l i n ______________________________________________________________________________ 4 6 , 47
B en zen e series. (S ee N itro and am ido d e r iv a tiv e s o f th e B en zene ser ie s.)
B en zo l and to lu o l or m e th y l b en zo l_______________________________________________25—
C hlorine g a s ______________________________________________________________________ 53 , 54
D im e t h y la n ilin ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------47
D ip h en y la m in ______________________________________________________________________
E th e r ----------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 4 -5 7
E th y l n it r ite ______________________________________________________________________
F u lm in a te o f m e r c u r y ____________________________________________________________ 50, 51M ercury ____________________________________________________________________________
M ixed a c i d s ________________________________________________________________________
N it r a t io n __________________________________________________________________________
N itr ic a c id _________________________________________________________________________ 23, 24
N itro and am ido d e r iv a tiv e s o f th e B en zene s e r ie s ---------------------------------------------- 2 9 - 4 8
N it r o b e n z o l________________________________________________________________________45, 46
N itro ch lo rb en zo l an d d in itro ch lo rb en zo l__________ ______________________________
N itr o g e n oxide— “ F u m e sick n e ss ” ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 4 -2 3
N itr o g ly c e r in -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------48— 0
N itr o n a p th a le n e s____________________________________________________________ ______
P h en o l, or carb olic a c id ________________________________.---------------------------------------27—
P icr ic a c id _________________________________________________________________________ 3 3 -3 5
S u lp h u ric a cid fu m es (su lp h u r d io x id e )------------------------------------------------------------24
T e t r a n itr a n ilin _______________________________________________________________ ____ 47, 48
T e tr a n itr o m e th y la n ilin , or te t r y l-------------------------------------------------------------------------48
T rin itr o to lu o l, or to lu o l, or tr ito n , or tr o ty l, or T N T ---------------------------------------3 5 -4 5
P o t n itr a tio n or d ir e c t d ip p in g in m a n u fa ctu re o f n itro c e llu lo se .
( See N itr o c e llu ­
lo se, m a n u fa c tu r e o f.)
Pow d er, sm o k eless, m a n u fa c tu r e o f ____________________________________________________7 0 -7 2
P r e c a u tio n a ry m easures in T N T m a n u fa ctu re, G reat B r ita in ---------- ------------------ 1 2 1 -1 3 0
P r e v e n tio n o f in d u str ia l p o iso n in g in m a n u fa c tu r e o f e x p lo s iv e s --------------------------- 9 2 -9 7
P y r o x y lin , m a n u fa ctu re o f.
( See S m o k eless pow der, e tc .)
R esp ira to rs, u se of, in p rev en tio n o f in d u str ia l p o is o n in g --------------------------------------94
S a fe ty in m a n u fa ctu re o f benzene d e r iv a tiv e s and e x p lo siv e s.
(Se e M a ssa c h u setts,
S ta te B oard o f L abor and In d u str ie s, e tc .)
S a fe ty sta n d a r d s o f in d u str ia l board o f P e n n sy lv a n ia D ep a rtm en t o f Labor and
In d u s tr y ____________________________________________________________________________1 0 3 -1 1 5
S a fe ty sta n d a rd s, te n ta tiv e , fo r m a n u fa c tu r e o f am i n itro and am ido copounds,
S ta te o f P e n n sy lv a n ia _______________ _____________________________________________ 131—
S h ells, fillin g w ith tr in itr o to lu o l---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 84—
Sm ok eless pow der and m ilita r y g u n co tto n , m a n u fa ctu re o f -----------------------------------70—
S ta te s in w h ic h e x p lo siv e s are m a n u fa c tu r e d _______________________________________
S u lp h u ric acid fu m es (su lp h u r d io x id e ), p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f ------------------------------24
S u lp h u ric acid , m a n u fa c tu r e o f ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 61, 62
S u lp h u ric a cid , recovery o f -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------62
T etr a n itr a n ilin , p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f -----------------------------------------------------------------------47, 48
T etra ijitr o m e th y la n ilin or te tr y l, p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f -------------------------------------------48
T e try l d e r m a titis, tr e a tm e n t o f ca se s o f _____________________________________________
T etry l, m a n u fa c tu r e o f ________________________________________________________________ 89, 90
T etry l p o iso n in g .
( S e e T etra n itr o m e th y la n ilin , p h y sio lo g ic a l a c tio n o f.)
T N A p o iso n in g .
( See te tr a n itr a n ilin , p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f.)
T N T . ( See T r in itr o to lu o l.)
T o lu o l.
( S e e B e n z o l; alfso tr in itr o to lu o l, p h y sio lo g ica l a c tio n o f.)
T re a tm en t o f ca ses o f in d u str ia l p o iso n in g ------------------------------------------------------------- 99—
T r in itr o to lu o l:
F illin g s h e lls w it h _________________________________________________________________ 8 4 -8 8
M anufacture o f ____________________________________________________________________ 80—
P h y sic lo g ic a l a c tio n ~o f __________________________________________________________
3 5 -4 5
P reca u tio n a ry m easures in m a n u fa ctu re o f ------------------------------------------------------121—
S a fety sta n d a rd s for m a n u fa ctu re of, P e n n sy lv a n ia -----------------------------------------1 3 6 -1 3 8
T rea tm en t o f cases o f p o iso n in g b y --------------------------------------------------------------------101
T y p ica l ca ses o f p o iso n in g b y -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 6 -4 1
T rito n . ( Se e T rin itr o to lu o l.)
T ro ty l. ( S ee T rin itr o to lu o l.)
V o la tile com pounds, p o iso n in g from , influence o f alco h o l o n -------------------------------------5 7 -5 9
W ages and h o u sin g in m a n u fa ctu re o f e x p lo siv e s---------------------------------------------------- 10, 11
W a sh in g fa c ilitie s , « s e of, in p reven tion o f in d u stria l p o iso n in g ----------------------------95
W om en and g ir ls, e m p lo y m en t o f, in fillin g s h e lls w ith tr in itr o to lu o l---------------------85