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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ROYAL MEEKER, Commissioner

BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES )
j WH OLE 1 £ C
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS ) ' * ’ (NUMBER 1 0 J
IN DUSTRIA L

AC CID ENTS

AND

HYG IENE

S E R IE S :

No. 6

LEAD P O IS O N I N G I N
T HE M A N U F A C T U R E OF
S T O R A G E B A T T E R I ES




/ V \

DECEMBER 15, 1914

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1915




CONTENTS.
Lead poisoning in the manufacture of storage batteries:
Page.
Introduction............................................................................................................ 5-7
Processes in the making of storage batteries...................................................... 7-16
Casting or molding.......................................................................................... 7-9
Trimming grids.............................................................................................. 9,10.
Mixing the oxides for Faure plates.............................................................. 10
Making the paste............................................................................................ 10,11
Pasting plates.................................................................................................. 11-13
Drying pasted plates...................................................................................... 13
Forming or pickling...................................................................................... 13,14
Assembling and lead burning....................................................................... 14-16
Finishing.......................................................................................................... 16
Hygienic conditions....................................................................................... .......16-19
Sanitary equipment........................................................................................ 18
Medical care..................................................................................................... 19
AVages, duration of employment, etc.................................................................19,20
Lead poisoning in the industry............................................................................ 20-32
Sources of information concerning the poisoning..................................... 22, 23
Number of cases in five large factories........................................................23-25
Type of lead poisoning................................................................................... 25-27
Lead poisoning in the industry in Great Britain and Germany............. 27-32
Summary.................................................................................................................. 32-34
Appendix A.—Regulations in Great Britain for the manufacture of electric
accumulators........................................................................................................ 35-37
Appendix B.—General provisions of the French law governing th^ man-,
ufacture of electric accumulators...................................................................
38
LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS.
P late
P late

1.

P late

3.

P late

4.

2.

P la te

5.

P la t e

6.

P late

7.

P late

8.

P late

9.

P late 10.
P late 11.

Facing page—

Casting room in large American factory................................................
Casting grids by hand..............................................................................
Mixing lead oxides....................................................................................
Paste mixing by hand..................................................[Backing plate 3]
Paste mixing by machine.................................................................... ”.
Filling ironclads.........................................................................................
Cleaning lugs and edges of pasted plates by machine with guards and
exhaust......................................................................................................
Cleaning lugs and edges of pasted plates without exhaust [Backing
plate 7].
Assembling and cleaning.......................................[Following plate 8]
Lead burning..............................................................................................
Charging room..............................................................................................




3

8
9
10

11
13
11
15
16




BULLETIN OF THE

U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
WHOLE NO. 165.

WASHINGTON.

DECEMBER 15, 1914

LEAD POISONING IN THE MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE
BATTERIES.
BY ALICE HAMILTON, M. A ., M. D.

INTRODUCTION.
The making of storage batteries, or electric accumulators, as they
are called in, every country except our own, is increasing in extent
and importance everywhere. It is regarded as a very dangerous
lead trade and the Governments of Great Britain and other Euro­
pean countries have made strict regulations as to the sanitation of
places in which such work is done and as to the methods to be em­
ployed in them, since experience has shown that in the absence of
regulations lead poisoning among the workers is a very serious evil.
In the United States there are five large factories where storage
batteries are made, one in Cleveland, Ohio; one in Depew, N. Y.; one
in Suspension Bridge, N*. Y.; and two in Philadelphia, Pa. A great
many smaller plants, employing from 5 to 15 men each, are scattered
throughout the country, and many automobile factories now have
their own storage-battery departments. There are also establish­
ments where no new batteries are made but where old ones are
reassembled and recharged. Railway companies usually have small
plants for recharging the batteries used for train lighting. As a rule
the smaller factories are rather neglected and dirty, more so than
are the larger ones. The largest factory in the country has branches
in several cities to which are shipped the plates ready for use and
these are then assembled into batteries in the branch establishments.
A storage battery is described as a collection of secondary cells,
or accumulators, which, when once charged by an electric current,
may be used for some time as the source of electricity.
The original type of storage battery, known as the Plants, consists
of lead plates, which are usually corrugated or perforated to offer a
larger surface for the chemical action of the charging current. The
Faure cell was constructed with the purpose of hastening these



5

6

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

chemical changes. Faure plates are covered with a paste of lead
oxides, the positive plate with red lead or a mixture of red lead and
litharge (rarely with pure litharge) and the negative plate usually
with litharge. Sometimes a Faure negative is paired with a Plants
positive plate. Both Plants and Faure plates are “ formed” by the
passage of an electric current, the effect of which is to change the
metallic lead of the Plants positive plate and the lower oxides of the
Faure positive plate to a higher oxide of lead, the brown peroxide,
while at the same time the surface of the negative plate is reduced
to spongy metallic lead. During the discharge of the electric cur­
rent the reverse takes place, and a certain amount of lead sulphate
is formed also, so that an old storage-battery plate is covered with
a mixture of the sulphate and the lower oxides.
For many years such cells were the only ones used for storage
batteries, but of late the nickel-iron battery of Edison (the so-called
alkaline battery) has been introduced and is Said to be coming
rapidly into general use. In this battery the positive plate consists
of perforated steel tubes filled with nickel hydrate, the negative of
perforated steel pockets filled with iron oxide. They are immersed in
a bath of potassium hydroxide and charged, the nickel in the posi­
tive plate being changed to black nickel oxide and the iron oxide of
the negative to spongy iron. ’
Edison batteries are, therefore, free from lead, but the Plants and
Faure are lead batteries and their manufacture involves the exposure
of workmen to the dangers of lead poisoning. There are many proc­
esses in the making of these batteries which are attended with the
formation of lead fumes or metallic lead dust or lead oxide dust and
in which the workman’s hands and clothes become covered with these'
substances. First, there is the casting or molding of the “ grid,”*
or plate, from molten lead which has usually a small percentage of
antimony added. For Plante cells the grid is cast in ridges and
furrows, or it may have roughened markings on the surface, or
spaces filled with rosettes of lead ribbon. Faure grids are made in
such shape as to hold large quantities of lead oxide paste. The
grid when it comes from the mold is straightened and the irregular
edges are trimmed smooth by hand or by machine. Then the grids
for the Faure batteries must be covered with paste, and for this pur­
pose red lead and litharge are weighed and mixed dry and then
worked up with a liquid, usually dilute sulphuric acid. This also
may be done either mechanically or by hand. The resulting paste is
rubbed and pressed into the interstices of the leaden grids and the
pasted plates are dried, assembled in pairs of positive and negative,
immersed in dilute sulphuric acid, and subjected to the action of an
electric current. This is known as “ forming,” and the formed



LEAD POISONING IX MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

7

plates are then washed clean of acid, dried, and made tip into battery
cells. To do this the pairs of plates must be assembled into large
or small groups and bound together by means of pure lead which
is melted with an oxyhydrogen flame, a process called lead burning.
Then another electric current is passed through the cells to “ charge”
them, and finally the men known as the “ finishers” place them in
receptacles of acid and fasten on the outer connectors with pure
molten lead.
This is a general description of the work in a storage-battery fac­
tory, but it will be necessary to take it up more in detail, for there
are many ways of carrying out the different processes, some of which
are more dangerous than others. In the following sections the proc­
esses are given in their logical sequence, not in the order of their
occurrence as one passes from room to room in any one factory.
Often in the smaller plants all the work is carried on in one room,
but in the five largest the different steps are separated to a certain
extent. Forming and charging are always done in special rooms in
these larger factories; weighing and mixing oxides and compounding
paste are usually separated from the rest of the work; this is some­
times true of pasting; and casting and trimming the grids and
assembling and lead burning the plates are generally carried on in
one or more large rooms, together with the making of Plants plates
and the final “ finishing.”
PROCESSES IN THE MAKING OF STORAGE BATTERIES.
CASTING OR MOLDING.

There has been a good deal of controversy, especially among the
Germans, over the presence of lead fumes in the air around the casting
kettle of a storage-battery plant. Wutzdorf1 holds that fumes escape
in the course of the work of casting grids even when the lead is not
much above 450° C. (842° F.). Wagener 2 also believes that fumes
arise from the melting pot, and he calls attention to the appearance of
blue clouds whenever the workman stirs the contents of the pot. The
tests made by the factory inspectors in the Hagen factory, where the
kettles are furnished with hoods, showed that even with that protec­
tion lead escaped into the air, for damp filter paper suspended above
the casting benches showed the presence of particles of lead. British
factory inspectors assume that there may be an escape of fumes from
any molten lead which is exposed to the air, and they insist on precau­
tions being taken accordingly.
In American factories the lead used in casting is supposed to be
decidedly below the fuming point, but if one watches the work of a
1 Arbeiten aus dem kaiserlichen Gesundheitsamte, 1898, vol. 15, pp. 154-170.
2 Deutsche Vierteljalirssclirift fiir ofTentliche Gesundheitspflege, 1902, vol. 34, pp. 529-578.



8

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

molder one can see that though there are no visible fumes as long as
the lead is undisturbed there are quite perceptible bluish fumes when
the dross is skimmed or the lead ladled out. These fumes are in all
probability the lower oxides of lead in a state of very fine division and
are therefore very poisonous. The analyses of air made for the New
York Factory Investigating Commission1 by Dr. 0. T. Graham
Rogers and John Vogt, B. S., show that in the storage-battery fac­
tories in that State there is sometimes lead in the air around the
melting pot. They found 3.4 milligrams of lead in 1 cubic meter of
air in the casting room of a plant which had no exhaust over the
pots and 1 milligram in a second place where the kettles were well
hooded. As an adult breathes about 4.5 cubic meters of air during
10 hours, this would indicate that a man in the first factory.might
breathe 15.3 milligrams of lead during his day’s work and a man in the
second 4.5 milligrams, provided this contamination of the air were
constant and not accidental. In that case a man employed in the
casting room of the first- factory would run serious risk of lead poison­
ing, if itTis true, as Teleky says,2 that a daily dose of 10 milligrams for
several weeks may lead to severe acute poisoning.
The molder stands close to the kettle, skimming dross and ladling
lead into the molds. The dross he usually throws on the floor beside
the kettle and walks to and fro over it as he works, grinding some
of it into dust, which contaminates the air.
The accompanying illustrations show how conditions may vary
between, casting rooms. The first (pi. 1) represents a casting room
in one of the five large factories visited. The kettles are hooded,
the hoods being connected with flues which carry off the fumes from
the molten lead. The floor is reasonably clean, and the room dis­
plays an evident intention to reduce the inevitable dangers of the
work to a minimum. In the second (pi. 2) conditions are much
less satisfactory. The kettle is unhooded, the open window beside
it being relied upon to carry off the fumes. The dross and lead
scraps on the floor are much in evidence. It is easy to see how as
the men go about their work this lead refuse is ground into the
wooden flooring until cleaning the latter in any satisfactory fashion
is a practical impossibility.
The danger in the casting room is in proportion to the number of
kettles, the presence or absence of hoods with exhausts over the
kettles, the degree of care which is used in handling the dross, and
the separation of this work from other dangerous processes, for, in
many factories, pasted plates are handled in this room and the
dust of the dry oxide paste is thus added to the metallic dust. Work
in the casting room is sometimes made very disagreeable by the
1 Second report of the New York State Factory Investigating Commission, vol. 2, pp. 1129 and 1131.
a Protokoll der Sitzung des grossen Rates des Instituts fur Gewerbehygiene, 1912, A. Seydel, Berlin, p. 15.






P L A T E 1.—C A S T I N G R O O M

IN L A R G E A M E R I C A N F A C T O R Y .

C ast ing room, showi ng m e lt in g pots w it h hoods whic h are connected wit h a large fl u e and which serve to
ca rry off the fum es fr o m th e molten lead. Th e large supply pipe f o r th i s fl u e may be seen in the fa r
c o rn e r of the room.




P L A T E 2.— C A S T I N G G R I D S BY H A N D .

LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTUBE OF STOBAGE BATTEBIES.

9

methods used in preparing the molds to receive the molten lead.
For instance, in one plant visited the molds are dusted with very
finely ground soapstone, used in such quantities that the room
looks like a flour mill, while the men are powdered like millers. In
another jets of smoky acetylene gas are passed over the molds till
a layer of carbon has formed, and the result is an atmosphere black
with smoke.
Wutzdorf 1 draws attention to the danger of arsenic in the fumes
from the melting pots in the casting room, for the lead that is used
may contain an appreciable quantity of arsenic. He quotes some
analyses made by Fischer,2 which show that the arsenic present in
hard or antimonial lead may run from 0.16 to 7.9 per cent. A
smelting expert in the United States is authority for the statement
that no antimonial lead in this country is quite free from arsenic.
TRIMMING GRIDS.

For convenience in handling, grids are often cast in pairs and
then sawn apart by a machine which may have no protection or
may be furnished with a glass or celluloid screen to keep the particles
from flying in the workman’s face. The edge of the.grid must be
smoothed and the superfluous lead cut or filed away, either by hand
or machinery. In some places this work is very slight in amount,
but in others there is a great deal of it. For instance, one plant
was visited in which 16 boys were trimming edges with big knives,
while in another plant almost as large, there were only two hand
trimmers; the rest of the work was done by machinery and, since
the grids were cast with clean edges, not much of it was necessary.
There is a handle on the grid which projects from the battery
and forms part of the connecting system, the leaden connectors
being fastened on here. This is called the “ lug,” and in the case of
small grids the lug is cast in one piece with the body of the grid,
but in the case of large grids it must be burned on to the body.
The work of lug burning is also done in the casting room.
The casting of Plants plates differs somewhat from the method
just described. Usually lead from a large kettle is run into a great
flat mold and the resulting thick sheet of pure lead is rolled out by
machinery till it is very thin. Plates are cut from this sheet and
ridges and furrows are then cut into them by machinery. This is
called “ spinning” or “ swedgmg” and is done with an abundance of
oil or water to keep down the heat; incidentally the dust also is kept
down. Another common variety of Plants plate is the Manchester,
which consists of a frame of antimonial load with interstices into
which rosettes of lead ribbon are pressed.
1 Arbeiten aus dem kaiserlichen Gesiindheitsamte, 1898, vol. 15, pp. 160-161.
2 See Handbuch der chemischen Technologie, von Dr. Ferdinand Fischer, Leipzig, 1893, S. 272.



10

BULLETIN OF THE BUBEAU OF LABOB STATISTICS.

The men, wlio handle the Plante plates are exposed to oxide dust
to a certain extent after the plate has been formed.
MIXING THE OXIDES FOR FAURE PLATES.

Up to this point the workmen have been exposed only to metallic
dust and possibly to fumes from the kettles, provided the processes
described have been carried on in rooms separate from those in which
operations involving the making or handling of paste or pasted
plates are performed.
The trimmed grids for Faure cells must next be covered with a
paste, the composition of which is a trade secret, but the essential
elements of which are the oxides of lead. It is generally said tliat
dilute sulphuric acid is used for moistening the oxides, but some paste
rooms reek with ammonia fumes, showing that ammonia may enter
into the composition of the paste.
Usually, mixing the dry oxides for the paste is done with some pre­
caution against dust. Plate 3 is an illustration of the mixing of
oxides by hand without precautions. In one plant the weighing,
dumping, and mixing all go on under cover and are controlled by a
workman who stands outside the inclosure and works through a
window in the wall. In another of the larger plants there is a similar
method of dumping the oxides under cover, but it is so carelessly
managed that though the room is new and the mixer well covered,
the place is full of oxide dust. In a third the work is done in the open
but carefully and with exhausts over scales and mixers, so that the
room is very clean.
In a fourth large plant the mixing is carried on at one end of the
pasting room. There is no exhaust over scales or mixer and the
litharge or red lead is simply scooped up from the kegs and dropped
into the scales, which are then emptied into the mixer. At the time
this place was visited a workman was engaged in mixing oxides, and
clouds of yellow dust were perceptible. In one of the smaller plants
also the oxides were being weighed on unprotected scales and mixed
in an open chaser directly beside the pasting table.
The accompanying illustration (pi. 4) shows the process of mixing
paste by hand. The mixing takes place under glass cabinets con­
nected with a large flue, the exhaust in which is supposed to carry off
the dust. Nevertheless a coating of dust is plainly visible on the
platform on which the mixers stand and on the benches and utensils
near them.
MAKING THE PASTE.
By far the safest way is to have all the paste made up in a special
room and given to the men who then apply it to the grids. In this
way only a few men come in contact with the dry oxides. This
method is followed in three of the five largest plants, but in the other



P LA T E 3 — M IX I N G LEAD OXIDES.
T h e w o r k is done partly by hand, partly in a pr im it iv e , ch urn -l ike machine. T h e r e is no device
f o r rem ova l of th e dust w hic h is fo rm e d in weighing, in f i l l i n g the mix er, and in e m p t y in g t h e
mixer.







P L A T E 4.— PASTE M I X I N G BY H A N D .

P L A T E 5.— PA S T E M I X I N G BY M A C H I N E W I T H D U S T - P R O O F F U N N E L .
T h e oxides are a d m it te d fr o m an overhead bin and mixed w it h o u t necessitating opening the
machine.




LEAD POISONING IK MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

11

two the dry oxides are made into paste in, the pasting room. In one of
the latter four or six men make up the powder into paste by hand,
working at a table with a glass case and an exhaust. At the time
this place was visited the floor near the paste-mixing table was
covered thickly with scarlet dust and the mixers’ overalls and shoes
were scarlet. Three cases of lead poisoning were found which had
been contracted at this table during 1913. The dust is also a menace
to the pasters who work in the same room. The other plant has an
even worse method, for here the dry oxides are weighed in open
scales in quantities for the pasters, each of whom must make up his
own paste. There are no exhausts at these pasting tables.
In the three plants where the paste is made for the men, paste
mixing is done in a special room. Bread-kneading machines are used
for this purpose in one (see pi. 5), and in another the paste is mixed
in large mortars beside each of which is an exhaust. Neither of these
plants is above criticism in the conduct of this part of the work, for
the rooms are far dustier than they should be and one is in an ex­
tremely neglected condition. The third plant has a fairly clean
mixing room with a cement floor which can be flushed with water,
but the man who makes the litharge paste has a dangerous habit of
throwing handfuls of dry litharge over the tray which is waiting for the
paste, as a baker would flour a pan to keep the dough from sticking.
Wagener 1 says that when the making of paste and the pasting of
plates were carried on in the same room in the Hagen factory, 20 out
of 27 men in that room had lead poisoning, but after the two processes
were separated only 10 out of the same number were poisoned. He
also gives the results of certain changes in a Cologne factory, where,
in addition to separating the pasting from the mixing, the pasting
tables were furnished with glass cabinets and exhausts, this being
necessary because the pasters sometimes had to add dry oxide to the
paste. Before the introduction of these protective measures there
were 37 cases of lead poisoning among 153 pasters; afterwards there
were 9 among 194, and the following year, only 8 among 209.
PASTING PLATES.

Pasters work at tables which may be covered with glass and fur­
nished with projecting wooden rims, or of wood with a glass plate laid
on it, or simply of wood with no glass. Of course, glass is by far the
best because it can easily be cleaned at the end of the day’s work,
while wood becomes impregnated with the oxides and can not be
scrubbed clean. It is desirable to have a raised rim around the edge
of the table to keep the paste from dropping on the floor.
There is a great difference in the pastes used in the different plants,
and the same plant may use several kinds. Sometimes the paste is
1 Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift fur offentliche Gesundheitspflege, 1902, vol. 34, p. 550.



12

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

decidedly moist and takes some time to dry and become dusty; again,
it may be so dry as to crumble. There are pasters who wear leather
or rubber gloves and use wooden spatulas to rub the paste into the
grid, but the majority wear no gloves and many knead the paste
with their fingers. It is doubtful whether gloves afford much pro­
tection, for so many men have a habit of taking them off and then
putting them on again over dirty hands.
In three large plants the pasting tables are furnished with an
exhaust system, though in one of the three this is installed only at the
tables for red lead paste, not for the litharge. The arrangement con­
sists in an opening, wide or narrow, along the far edge of the table
opposite the paster or along the right-hand edge, with a board pro­
jecting over it and an exhaust behind it. Such an exhaust is of very
doubtful value, as the wet paste on the table is not in itself a
source of danger. In no case was it possible to see any dust arising
from the paste which was under manipulation. The danger comes
from the paste that has fallen and dried on the edges of the table, 011
the floor, and on the men’s clothes, and the exhaust can not catch up
dust from these places. Pasting rooms are always scarlet and yellow
from red lead and litharge dust, though they are supposed to be
cleaned every night. The part of the room devoted to litharge paste
never looks as dusty as the part devoted to red lead, because the
latter is such a vivid color, while litharge is about the color of wood
and does not show on tables and floors. One superintendent, how­
ever, said that he had more trouble with lead poisoning from the
litharge paste than from the red lead; he thought it was dustier when
it dried than red lead.
Rogers and Vogt1 found in one pasting room, just over the table,
4.2 milligrams of lead in a cubic meter of air, and in a second 1.2
milligrams. These quantities indicate that in the first factory it
might be possible for a man to breathe in, during the day’s work,
18.9 milligrams, and in the second 5.4 milligrams.
The dust in the pasting room is increased where the men are
allowed to throw on the floor strips of paper covered with paste;
these soon dry, and as the men walk back and forth over them the
dry paste is ground into dust. This is seen in factories where the
process of drying the plates is hastened by pressing strips of paper
on them much as one would use a blotting paper. These papers
must be pulled off and then, covered with oxides as they are, they
are sometimes thrown on the floor to be gathered up at the end of
the day. In two plants, however, they are dropped into receptacles
so that they do not spread the dust as they dry.
One kind of plate is known as the “ ironclad.” This is a light
grid made of slender parallel rods of metal over each of which is
1

Second Report of the New York State Factory Investigating Commission, vol. 2, pp. 1129 and 1131.







P L A T E 6.— F I L L I N G I R O N C L A D S .

IS
slipped a very loosely fitting rubber tube with narrow openings in
its circumference. The grid is placed upright on a table under a
glass case and dry red lead is forced into the spaces between the
rubber tubes and the rods, the grid being violently shaken all the
time to shake the red lead down. It is an extremely dusty process
and in spite of the protection of the glass case, there were heaps
of dust all around the place in the one plant in which these plates
are made (see pi. 6). One man working at the machine for filling
these grids had his face powdered with red lead and the red color
could be seen in his nostrils. The full grid is taken to another table
which also is provided with a glass case, is placed in a frame, and the
end is fitted on, and the connectors burned. This second table was
of wood, with wide cracks, and there were quantities of dust over it
and over the floor. From this table the plates go to the acid tank.
LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

DRYING PASTED PLATES.

The pasted plates, if they are small, may go at once to the tanks
in the “forming” or “pickling” room, but large ones are usually
dried first because the acid in the pickling trough penetrates more
quickly if the paste is dry. This drying is done either in a separate
room or on racks in the pasting room. When the plates are dry
their surface has set like cement and is hard and firm, yet they can
not be handled without raising dust, the shelves on which they rest
are always covered with dust, and the men who take them off the
racks and carry them to the assembling room have a very dusty
piece of work. When, as is often the case, the drying cabinets are
in the paste room, this makes another source of air contamination
in that room.
FORMING OR PICKLING.

The forming room is large and usually well ventilated, filled with
long troughs of dilute sulphuric acid in which are immersed large
numbers of plates, connected by a copper bar. A current of elec­
tricity is sent through the plates, and when they are taken out they
have been “formed” and the positive one is covered with a coating
of the brown peroxide, the negative with gray, spongy lead. In
the forming room and, to a slighter extent, in the charging room
where a second treatment with an electric current takes place, the
fumes of sulphuric acid are strong enough to cause much discomfort
to a person not accustomed to them. Nevertheless the men working
there do not seem to experience any irritating effect upon the eyes
and. throat, and German factory inspectors say that physicians find
no increase in lung trouble or in inflammation of the eyes among
these men. Chyzer,1 however, after an examination of some Ausi Annales d’hygifcne publique et de m^decine 16gale, 1908, 4th series, Vol. X, pp. 239-260.



14

BULLETIN OF THE BUBEAU OF LABOB STATISTICS.

triau factories gained quite a different impression, and in order to
decide the question lie subjected rabbits to an atmosphere similar
to that in forming rooms. He found that there was enough sul­
phuric acid in such air to cause bronchitis and even foci of inflam­
mation in the lung tissue of animals. Tho bubbles which are always
rising from the acid troughs carry with them tiny drops of acid, and
Chyzer found, in a forming room with open windows, a deposit of
1.28 grams of sulphuric acid on one square meter of surface. In a
room with closed windows the quantity on a surface of this extent
was 3.97 grams. The workmen, he found, often suffered from bron­
chitis and nosebleed and the acid fumes also exerted an injurious
effect on the enamel of the teeth. On the other hand, Bottrich, one
of the physicians to the Hagen factory, believes that these acid fumes
are actually beneficial. None of the physicians interviewed in the
course of the present study had noticed any ailment among the men
traceable to their occupation in the forming room.
When the formed plates are taken from the acid, they are washed
and soaked in various solutions, the composition of which is always
a trade secret, but the work is of no apparent importance from the
writer’s point of view.
ASSEMBLING AND LEAD BURNING.

Tho dusty processes begin again in the assembling room where
the formed plates are grouped and fastened together by lead strips.
A group of positive plates is then fitted together with a group of
negatives and between each pair of plates is slipped a thin strip of
wood. This work is known as assembling and the men as assem­
blers. Lead burning consists in fastening the groups together and
connecting positive and negative groups by a soldering process in
which pure lead is used instead of ordinary solder, and the heat is
applied by means of an oxyhydrogen flame. This is done in the
same room as the assembling and the two are often spoken of together
as assembling, or the work of the whole department may be designated
as lead burning.* This makes it difficult to find out exactly what
kind of work was done by a man employed in such a room. Other
occupations are frequently carried on in the assembling rooms, such
as the inspection of formed plates before they go to the assemblers,
the imperfect ones being rejected, or straightened, trimmed, and
filed. Small plates which have been pasted in pairs are sawn apart
in this room and both the trimming and sawing are productive of
a great deal of dust because the plates are now covered with dry
oxides. The cleaning of the edges and the lugs of pasted plates is
another dusty piece of work usually carried on here. The projecting
part of the plate, known as the lug, and the edges of the plate have,






P L A T E 7.—C L E A N I N G L U G S A N D E D G E S O F P A S T E D P L A T E S .
T h i s machine has a guard which serves to prev en t accidents to th e m a n' s fi n ge rs and is also connected
with an ex hau st fan to remove th e dust.

P L A T E 8.— C L E A N I N G L U G S A N D E D G E S OF P A S T E P L A T E S W I T H O U T A N Y E X H A U S T .







P L A T E 9.— A S S E M B L I NG A N D C L E A N I N G .
T h e man to the right is placing strips of wood between the plates; the one to the le ft is scraping and polishing
the lugs.




PLATE 10— LEAD B U RN IN G .
T h e w o r k m a n holds a piece of pure lead in his left hand and an oxyhydro gen b u r n e r in his r i g h t hand.
protected fr o m the fu m e s by a respirator, an unusu al precaution in t h i s so rt of w ork .

He is

LEAD POISOSTKG

IN

MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

15

in the process of pasting; become more or less smeared with paste
ancl in order that good connections may be made this dried oxide
must be cleaned off and the metal brushed and scraped till it is
bright. The work may be done by hand or by machine.
The accompanying illustrations (pis. 7, 8, and 9) show the oper­
ations of cleaning and assembling. The machine shown in plate 7
is carefully equipped to reduce the danger to the worker as much as
possible. In spite of the exhaust, however, an accumulation of dust
and bits of paste is seen beneath the machine. Plate 8 shows the
method of cleaning plates by hand, in which the worker has either
no protection at all or only such as is given by a respirator. Plate
9 shows conditions when, as is often the case, cleaning and assembling
are carried on in the same room.
The assemblers proper handle dry oxide plates, but not in such a
way as to cause the production of much dust. The lead burners
have work which German and English authorities consider particu­
larly dangerous. They use a small but very hot oxyhydrogen flame
to melt a narrow bar of pure lead (see pi. 10). The question is how
much volatilization of lead is caused by the tiny flame. As we shall
see later, the most recent British reports show more ]ead poisoning
among the lead burners than among any other workmen in the
electric accumulator factories, and British factory inspectors are
advising the installation of air exhausts at the workbenches to protect
these men. The German factory inspectors also report a rate of
lead poisoning among burners in certain factories even higher than
that among pasters, and they have shown by means of pieces of
moist filter paper suspended above the lead burner that lead passes
into the air.1
Koth, however, questions the interpretation of these tests. He
repeated them and found that when the workman was engaged
only in lead burning there was no appreciable lead caught on the
filter paper, but when, after burning, the man proceeded to polish
the surface of the lead with a steel brush, there was a distinct deposit
of lead dust on the paper.2
In the United States the lead-burning department has a much
better reputation among physicians and workmen than has the
mixing or pasting department., and very few cases of lead poisoning
could be traced to it in the plants visited. It may be that we have
so much more sickness in our pasting and mixing rooms that the
less dangerous departments are overshadowed. Another explana­
tion was offered by an expert familiar with the industry in England
as well as in this country. He said that the English use in lead
1 Jahresbericht des Regierungs- und Gewerberates flir die Regierungsbczirk Arnsberg pro 1896.
2 Beitrage zur pathologischn Anatomie und aUgemeinen Patliologie VII Supplement 1905, S. 184-197.



16

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

burning a pure oxyhydrogen flame, while the Americans use hydrogen
mixed with atmospheric air in which the oxygen is greatly diluted.
The pure oxygen makes a much hotter flame and therefore causes
more volatilization of lead. The source of lead dust noted by Roth,
the polishing of the hardened lead with a steel brush, was not seen
in any lead-burning room visited in the course of this inquiry.
Rogers and Vogt were able to demonstrate in one factory 2.6 milli­
grams of lead per cubic meter in the air over a lead burner’s
bench, and 1.8 grams in another,1 but in view of the many dustproducing processes which are carried on in those assembling rooms,
it is impossible to estimate how much of the lead represented vola­
tilized oxides and how much dust.
FINISHING.

This term is a little confusing, for it is used both for the trimming
and polishing of grids in the casting room and for the final making
up of batteries. In this report it is used in the latter sense only.
The plates which have been assembled and burned together, go
next to the charging room for the passage of the second electric
current. The accompanying illustration (pi. 11) shows the method
of charging. The room in which this operation is carried on is
like the forming room except that the acid fumes are less strong.
The plates are then brought to the finishers who place them in cells
filled with acid and fasten on the covers and the outer connectors,
thus making up the batteries. The only lead work here is making
the connectors on the outside of the battery. This is essentially
the same as lead burning, for it is done with pure lead and the oxy­
hydrogen flame.
Small plates are placed in hard-rubber containers, medium-sized
ones in glass and large ones in wooden boxes lined with sheet lead.
The making of these lead-lined containers is similar to lead burning,
the edges of the lead sheets being welded together by the oxyhydro­
gen flame. It may be done in the assembling room or in the room
for casting Plante plates. One foreman called attention to the fact
that in making the largest of these containers, the burner was
obliged to put his head inside it or he would not be able to make
accurate joinings, and of course the slightest leak would spoil the
battery. If there really are fumes produced in such lead burning,
the workman can not avoid inhaling them.
HYGIENIC CONDITIONS.
An inspection of the storage-battery establishments in this coun­
try gives one the impression that only lately have the employers
awakened to the dangerous character of the work they have been
* Second Report of the Ne'.v York State Factory Investigating Commission, 1913, vol. 2, pp. 1130,1131.






P L A T E 11.— C H A R G I N G R O O M .
An un u s u a lly lig h t and wel l- ve n ti la te d c h ar g in g room. T h e ja r s are all fil le d w it h d ilu te s u lp h u r ic acid, and
the a ir is necessarily v e r y ir r it a t in g , even w it h th e w in d o w s open.

LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

17

carrying on, and that they are not yet well enough instructed in its
dangers to recognize all the places that should be safeguarded, nor
to appreciate the importance of personal care of their employees.
Of the five largest plants that were visited, all but one are new
and well built. Cement floors were found in three. The advantage,
of course, of a cement floor is that it can be thoroughly cleaned,
whereas in the case of a wooden floor the powder is ground into the
wood and into the cracks between the boards and it is impossible
to get all of it out. One of the three in which there is a cement
floor is cleaned by flushing at the end of the day. The second has
a very elaborate vacuum-cleaning system, and the third is cleaned
simply by sweeping with wet sawdust, because the cement in this
factory is not waterproof. All three of the plants are fairly clean for
the most part, but one of them has a great deal of dust in the pasting
room. Of the two larger plants with wooden floors, one is new, and
the floors are still smooth and reasonably clean; the other is old, the
floors are worn, the dust is ground into them, and they could not
possibly be made dust free. In this last plant an attempt has been
made to improve conditions in the pasting room by covering the
floor thickly with damp sawdust, but the effect is rather spoiled
by the piles of oxide-covered papers thrown on the floor after being
taken from the pasted grids. This last plant is the only one in
which there is overcrowding. The rooms are too small. In all the
others, there is ample space, light and ventilation; indeed the con­
struction of these four plants is better than their Upkeep, which in
no instance is so careful as to secure scrupulous cleanliness.
It is quite surprising to an outsider to see how a manager will point
with pride to a new’ and expensive device for carrying off dust through
exhausts and will quite fail to see the dust on the floor where he is
standing, dust which needs no newer or more expensive equipment for
its safe removal than a broom and a pail of wet sawdust.
The smaller factories differ from the larger chiefly in having the
different processes less well separated. For instance, in one, mixing
oxides, paste making, pasting, forming, and lead burning are all car­
ried on in the same room, leaving only the casting and trimming to
be done in a small room off the main one. Repair shops have another
bad feature in the dust from old rejected battery plates. These are
usually thrown in a heap in a corner until enough accumulate to be
sold to a refinery. The branch establishments, which only assemble
batteries, are much safer than the factories proper, since everything that
has to do with pasting is eliminated. Assembling and lead burning
and the final finishing are the dangerous processes here, but it is very
much easier to manage the dust problem in such a place. However, in
these plants there is also a certain amount of work with old batteries
that adds an element of dust.
73764°—Bull. 165—15----- 2




18

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

SANITARY EQUIPMENT.

The making of paste and the pasting of plates is recognized in all
the larger plants and in most of the smaller ones as dangerous work,
and though the employer may not explain this fact to his workmen he
almost always provides some kind of washing facilities for men en­
gaged in this work. The work of casting and trimming and lead
burning and assembling is regarded more lightly by the employer,
and sometimes the men employed in such work are not provided with
any place where they can wash.
Two of the live largest plants have paid very little attention to the
personal care of their men. The pasters in one of them were wearing
old trousers and aprons which did not cover their shirts so that when
they go home at night they must carry red lead and litharge dust in
their shirts. The only provision for washing is a sink with cold
water; if the men want hot water they must fill the sink and run
steam from a hose into the water to heat it. If they wish soap and
towels, they must pay for them. In the other plant there are sinks
with only cold water in the pasting room, but it is said that the men can
get pails of hot water from the floor below. No towels, soap, nail­
brushes, or overalls are provided, and there is no lunch room. The
mixers and pasters, however, are given leather gloves. In a third
factory conditions are better. There is an excellent washroom next
to the pasting room, very well equipped and with ventilated lockers
for the men’s clothes, but it is for the use of the pasters and mixers
only. There is 110 lunch room at all. A fourth factory has a wash­
room close to the pasting room with a. long sink, hot water, soap,
towels, and nailbrushes. Full suits of overalls are furnished by the
company to the pasters, and mixers. When noon came, during the
visit made to this plant, the men from the pasting and mixing depart­
ment all went t;> the wash room at once ; but they did not take off their
dusty overalls before eating lunch, and no lunch room is provided for
them. Only one of the live plants makes really abundant and satis­
factory provision for the personal care of the men, and, fortunately,
this is the largest plant in the country. Here there are modern, wellequipped, and very well maintained wash rooms, a room with shower
baths and a large pleasant dining room and recreation room. The
men may buy a hot dinner in the lunch room and the company regu­
lates the price which the restaurant keeper may charge. Gas, steam
heat, and the use of the room are furnished by the company.
So far as could be ascertained, even in places where the men are well
cared for, they do not seem to be instructed in the dangers of the work,
perhaps from fear of frightening them away. Of 21 men who were
asked whether they had ever been told that the stuff they were using
was poisonous, only 2 replied in the affirmative.



LEAD POISONING IN M AX I'L’ACTUKE OF STOKAGE BATTERIES.

MEDICAL CARE.

19

The Ohio law requires that men in this employment be examined
once a month by a physician employed by the company. Neither
the New York nor the Pennsylvania laws contain this provision for
employers of storage-battery works, but there are physicians attached
to the two large New York plants and to one of the two in Pennsyl­
vania. In the two former the physician takes care only of the men
who apply to him for advice, but in the Pennsylvania plant the phy­
sician makes almost daily visits and regularly examines the men em­
ployed in the more dangerous kinds Of work and also the applicants
for work in these departments. He suspends from work, or transfers
to other departments, men whose teeth arc in bad condition, or who
are physically below par, and they are not allowed to return until he
has pronounced them to be in fit condition. Men found to be alco­
holic are discharged. This physician lays special stress upon the
condition of the teeth as a contributory factor in lead poisoning.
WAGES, DURATION OF EMPLOYMENT, ETC.
The men employed in storage-battery works are a shifting class,
especially the pasters, though they arc usually paid fairly good wages,
sometimes decidedly above the rate ordinarily paid for unskilled
labor. According to the employers men in this trade in Ohio receive
from $1.90 to $3.50 a day. In New York a skilled worker at a machine
in the casting room stated that he had earned $21.90 a week. Pasters
are paid less. Three pasters in New York gave their weekly wages as
$12, $12 to $13.50, and $13.75, respectively. A fourth paster re­
ceived $15. Pasting is, usually, piecework. Two men employed in
the forming room received each $11 a week. The books of one large
concern in Philadelphia showed that pasters were paid from $14 to
$1S a week. The wages of lead burners were higher, reaching $19.50
a week. Two mixers (the mixing in this factory is done by hand) and
one man who acted as helper to a lead burner said that they were paid
only $9 a week.
In spite of reasonably good wages, men do not seem to remain long
at the work, for among 70 who were interviewed only 17 had worked
as long as a year and 41 had worked for less than six months.
The following statement shows the period of exposure of 70 cases
of lead poisoning in this industry:
Less tlian 1 montli....................................................................................... 3
1 inontli and less than 2 months............................................................... 6
2 and less than 3 months............................................................................ 8
3 and less than 4 months........................................................................... 11
4 and less than 5 months............................................................ .............. 6
5 and less than 0 months............................................................................ 7
Total, less than 6 months............................................................... 41




20

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
6 and less than 7 months............................................................................
4
7 and less than 8 months............................................................................ 1
8 and less than 9 months............................................................................ 3
9 and leas than 10 months.................. ....................................................... 0
10 and less than 11 months........................................................................ 2
11 and less than 12 months........................................................................ 2
Total, less than 1 year..................................................................... 53
1 year and less than 2 years....................................................................... 8
2 and less than 3 years............................................................................... 0
3 and less than 4 years............................................................................... 2
4 and less than 5 years...............................................................................
3
5 and less than Gyears......................................................................;----- 0
6 and less than 7 years............................................................................... 2
12 years.......................................................................................................... 1
13 years.......................................................................................................... 1
Total, over 1 year............................................................................. 17

The majority of the workmen are unskilled foreigners, and the
division of work between them and the English-speaking workers
depends largely upon the degree of skill required. Lead burning is
skilled work, and, like molding, is often done by English-speaking
men. The mixing of the oxides and of the paste is under the control
of a skilled man, and the making of Plants plates is mostly skilled
work. On the other hand, the pasting, assembling, trimming, and
transporting are done by unskilled foreigners. In other words, some
of the dustiest and most dangerous of the processes are given over to
unskilled men, who often do not understand English. A good many
of them look very young, and in some factories boys of 16 are employed,
especially in hand trimming and in assembling.
LEAD POISONING IN THE INDUSTRY,
In casting and molding, provided the room is separate from the one
in which paste plates are handled, the only danger is from fumes and
possible particles of metallic lead. In trimming, polishing, and filing
the molded grid only metallic dust is encountered, and this is far less
dangerous than lead fume or oxide dust,1 so that if these processes
were carried on in a separate room the work would be comparatively
safe.
Mixing the oxides, making the paste, and applying the paste expose
the men to the action of red lead and litharge, and the danger is in
proportion to the amount of dust produced. Oxide mixing can bo
1 The oxides of lead are about as soluble in human gastric juice as white lead (basic carbonate), but the
lower oxides are lighter and more fluffy and dusty to handle, so that some authorities, such as Etz (Leymann’s Bekampfung der Bleigefahr in der Industrie, pp. 6,7), believe that litharge causes more harm than
white lead. In a study made lor the Bureau of Labor (Bulletin 95, White Lead Industry in the United
States, p. 259) it was found that in factories where both white lead and the oxides were manufactured the
men engaged in the oxide department had a higher rate of lead poisoning than those in the white lead.




LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

21

made safe by properly inclosing the dump for the dry powder and the
machines; the same is true of paste making. Rubbing the paste
into the grids is always a dangerous piece of work, but if the paste is
very moist and the paste rooms kept clean, the dangers from the
work are minimized. In such cases the important thing is to see
that the workman washes at the end of his work and leaves his working
clothes behind him; in other words, to see that he does not get the
dust into his mouth with his food or tobacco, nor carry it home in his
clothes. But if the paste be rather dry and crumbly and the tables
and floors be allowed to become dusty, no care in the matter of per­
sonal cleanliness will really save the men from lead poisoning, because
they will breathe in the dust. Legge and Goadby1 advise keeping
floor and workbenches in the paste room always damp.
After the plates have been filled with paste and dried, the further
processes of taking them out of the drying cabinets and carrying them
to the assembling room, assembling, lead burning, placing in recep­
tacles, and finishing, all involve exposure to a certain amount of
oxide dust from these plates, as well as exposure to fume from the
use of the oxyhydrogen flame on pure lead.
The report of the New York State Factory Investigating Com­
mission states that out of 07 cases of lead poisoning reported among
indoor workers in that State during one year, 15 were storage-battery
workers.2 In the course of investigations in storage-battery fac­
tories, Dr. Graham Rogers found men at work who showed typical
signs of lead absorption. In one factory three cases had already
been reported to the New York Department of Labor and in addition
to them I)r. Rogers found three boys under 18 who showed typical
anemia; 4 pasters with marked pallor, 2 with marked anemia and
the lead line, and a seventh who was under treatment for lead poison­
ing. Two assemblers were found with symptoms of lead poisoning
and a lead burner with anemia and a lead line. The mixer showed
evidence of plumbism. The regular force in this factory engaged
in the lead processes was 110 to 115 men.
In the second factory 13 cases had been reported, mostly pasters.
During Dr. Rogers’ visit 4 cases were discovered in the pasting room
and the greater part of the force in that room impressed the investi­
gators as showing signs of lead absorption.3
In this same report is given the result of a detailed investigation
of 31 cases of industrial lead poisoning traced to Niagara Falls
plants, all but one of which came from three storage-battery facto­
ries.4 The investigation was made in the summer of 1912 and the
1 Lead Poisoning and Lead Absorption, London, 1912, p. 282.
3 Second Report of the New York State Factory Investigating Commission, 1913, vol. 2, pp. 1128-1130.
a Ibid., p. 1132.
* Ibid., pp. 583-001.



22

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

largest number of cases fall in the year 1911. In that year there
were 17 cases; in 1912, 9; in 1910, 3, ancl in 1909, 2. There are
several interesting details in this report. Two of the men contracted
lead poisoning while inspecting and cleaning plates; in 5 out of the
30 cases the men seem to have been employed with metallic lead only,
and one was in the charging room, where in a well-managed factory
there should be no danger from lead. As would be expected, the
cases found by the investigators were of a fairly serious or very
serious type. Mild cases do not make much impression and are
soon forgotten.
In the present investigation cases of lead poisoning were found
which had occurred during the year 1913 in all of the following
processes:
Casting, including Plant/1plates.
Trimming and filing.
Mixing oxides.
Making paste.
Pasting plates.
Cleaning pasted plates.
Taking papers off pasted plated.
Carrying pasted plates to forming room.
Polishing lugs.
Assembling.
Lead burning.
Filling ironclad plates with dry oxides.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION CONCERNING THE POISONING.

The three States in which the greatest amount of storage-battery
manufacturing is done are Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. The
first two require by law that all cases of industrial lead poisoning
shall be reported to a central office. A similar law in Pennsylvania
has just come into force. The reports from the Ohio Department of
Health proved to be very nearly complete, for a careful search re­
vealed only a very few cases in addition to those already reported.
In New York, on the other hand, the reports are far from complete,
and it was necessary to question the men themselves and interview
the physicians in order to discover even approximately how much
lead poisoning there was during 1913 in this industry. Some of tho
physicians are careless about sending in reports, although they are
able to verify a case when the record is brought to them, and others
say frankly that they do not trouble to send in reports of any but
the severe cases. The physicians attached to the factory, who
naturally see the majority of cases, are not always willing to make
public the actual number of men who have had lead poisoning in
the plant. In Philadelphia it was necessary to depend entirely upon
hospital records and interviews with physicians because the law



LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OP STORAGE BATTERIES.

23

requiring tlic reporting of lead poisoning has been in effect so short
a time. Many of the cases in the lists are known to the writer only
by the name of the man and the name of the physician who made the
diagnosis. The men had quit work and could not be traced; and it
was impossible to learn in what process they were employed or how
long they worked before they began to feel the effects of the lead.
Among those who could be approached a very large majority were
employed as pasters, but it would probably be wrong to conclude
from this that pasting is as much more dangerous than other kinds
of work as this would indicate. As a matter of fact, the pasters are
all, or almost all, foreigners, and much more likely to go to dispen­
saries and hospitals for treatment than are the American-born or at
least English-speaking lead burners and molders.
NUMBER OF CASES IN FIVE LARGE FACTORIES.

In what follows the facts are given as it was possible to ascertain
them, although it is realized that the information is far from com­
plete. Only the five largest plants are considered here. The
force employed in these five plants in processes which involve the use
of lead or lead salts numbers about 915, and of these about 303
are exposed to metallic lead dust and the fumes from melted lead,
274 to lead oxides, and 338 to both. They are divided approxi­
mately as follows:
Casting, sawing, trimming, etc.................................................................. 803
Mixing.......................................................................................................... 1G
Pasting........................................................................................................... 246
Lead burning, assembling, polishing lugs, etc.......................................338
Filling ironclads.......................................................................................... 12
Total................................................................................................... 915

The cases of lead poisoning which were found to have occurred
during 1913 in these five plants are as follows:
NUMBER OF CASES OF LEAD POISONING IN FIVE LARGE PLANTS DURING 1913.
Number
employed
in lead
work in
five plants.
015

Cases from Cases from
hospitals doctors'
and dis­
pensaries. records.
4:}

121

Total
.eases.
104

Rate per
100 em­
ployees.
17.9

This means that, with incomplete records, these five factories
had at least one case of lead poisoning for every five to six men
employed, or 17.9 per 100 employed. When one considers how scanty
was the information obtained in regard to three of the live plants and
how hard it is to follow up a shifting force of migratory foreigners



24

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

it is easy to see that these figures must necessarily fall far below
the truth.
If these cases are divided according to occupation, which can be
done only in the case of 70, the greater danger of work with the
oxides becomes apparent.
CASES OF LEAD POISONING CLASSIFIED AS TO CHARACTER OF EXPOSURE.
per
Employees Cases of Rateem­
lead
100
exposed. poisoning. ployees.
,,
to cc
oo«o<

1

303
274
338

1.0
14.2
8.3

i

Exposed to metallic dust and fumes........................................................
Exposed to oxides....................................................................................... i
Exposed to both metallic dust and fumes and oxides..........................1

j
|

Character of exposure.

The same thing is shown in some unusually full records from
two plants which give occupation as well as other information in
regard to the cases of lead poisoning. In these two the cases were
described as follows:
CASES OF LEAD POISONING IN TWO PLANTS CLASSIFIED AS TO OCCUPATION OF
EMPLOYEES.
(>ccupation.

Employees Cases of Rate per 100
lead
exposed. poisoning. employees.

177
i3
1.7
20
8
10.0
j
160
31
19.4
1
262
28
10.7
j
» This does not cover all the eases during 1913 in these two plants, for in one of them records were avail­
able for six months only.
Casting, including Plante....................
Mixing, including filling of ironclads.
Pasting....................................................
Assembling and lead burning.............

In another plant the physician showed a list of men who had been
laid off during three months’ time because they showed signs of lead
absorption. Most of these men were simply suspended temporarily.
CASES OF LEAD POISONING IN ONE PLANT CLASSIFIED AS TO OCCUPATION OF
EMPLOYEES.
Occupation.
Casting...........................................................
Mixing, including filling of ironclads, etc.
Pasting...........................................................
Assembling and lead burning....................

Employees Cases of jRate per 100
lead
exposed. poisoning. employers.
117
18
100
213

3
6
18
31

2.6
33.3
18.0
14.6

From all these records it is plain that mixing, which involves
handling the dry oxides, is the most dangerous work. The filling of
“ ironclads” has been included under this heading because in that
work, also, the dry oxides are handled. Next in danger to mixing
comes pasting, then assembling and burning, because in both of



LEAD POISONING

m

MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

25

these there is oxide dust, and, finally, much less dangerous than any
of the others, casting and trimming, where there is only metallic
lead or possibly some fumes. However, it may be true that there
is more lead poisoning among lead burners in these factories than
was found. One physician said that he had made a careful survey
of 100 men who were employed in departments other than pasting
or mixing. They were casters, lead burners, and storeroom men, and
in 20 of the hundred he found signs of lead absorption.
TYPE OF LEAD POISONING.

Legge and Goadby 1 state that during the 10 years from 1900 to
1909, inclusive, there were 285 cases of lead poisoning in this indus­
try reported in Great Britain, but that a comparison of the propor­
tion of severe cases with the proportion among the cases in all lead
industries shows that the making of electric accumulators has less
than its share of severe forms of plumbism.
The cases are usually acute, with colic and in severe instances
encephalopathy, but not paralysis. This is explained by the fact
that men do not remain long in this kind of work and that they are
exposed to the dust of salts of lead which is quickly absorbed and
which causes acute plumbism.
This was also found to be true of the cases of lead poisoning in the
making of accumulators in the United States concerning which the
writer has been able to gather detailed information. Among 64 cases,
S, or 12-| per cent, would be classed as severe, 25, or 39 percent,
as moderate, and 31, or 48.4 per cent, as mild. This is a larger pro­
portion of moderate cases than that in the British reports. There
the figures are: Severe, 20.6 per cent; moderate, 24.9 per cent; and
mild, 53.7 per cent.2 The explanation of this difference is probably
that mild cases arc hard to trace in this country, for they are quickly
forgotten. Still this does not mean that there is always a quick
recovery from these acute attacks and that the man may go back to
work after a few days' illness. His incapacitation for work may
even be longer than the employment which led up to his illness.
For instance, the pasters in a storage-battery factory usually suffer
from rapidly developing and uncomplicated lead poisoning, yet if
these men are followed up it will be seen that, simple and acute as the
disease is, the effects are sometimes slow to disappear. This is the
record of 12 such cases which were looked up within a year of the
illness.




* Lead Poisoning and Lead Absorption, London, 1912, pp. 4 0 ,51.
2 Ibid., p. 48.

26

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
INCAPACITATION OF 12 LEAD-POISONED EMPLOYEES, CLASSIFIED AS TO
TIME EMPLOYED.
Length of time employed.
8 months.
3 months .
(>months.
5 months.
2\ months
3 months.
5 months.
5 months.
2i months
0 weeks...
Gmonths.
0 months.

Length of
time inca­
pacitated.
3 weeks.
3 weeks.
4 weeks.
5 weeks.
5 weeks.
2 months.
2 months.
3 months.
3 months.
3 months.
4 months.
4 months.

The symptoms of poisoning in most of the eases investigated eamo
on rapidly. Records were obtained of 6 men who sickened after less
than a month’s exposure, and 3 more who had been exposed only a
little over a month. One man who mixed paste by hand began to feel
ill, with loss of appetite, headache, and digestive disturbance, after two
week’s work. He was a tall and strongly built man and said that he
had never been sick in his life before, but he was obliged to go to the
hospital at the end of 11 weeks. A paster in the same room who had
had many attacks of lead poisoning and who had just been laid off by
the doctor for 6 weeks, said that the men in his room always began to
feel ill at the end of a month, but they could usually keep on working
for a while longer and many of them came back again, even after a
severe attack, because of the good wages paid.
The following table gives the length of time which elapsed between
the beginning of the work and the first symptoms of lead poisoning in
60 cases. It shows that five-sixtlis of them were sickened after less
than six months’ work.
P eriod o f exposure to lead before onset o f sym ptom s in GO cases.

Less than 1 month......................................................................
1 month and less than 2 months...................................................
2 and less than 3 months............................................................
3 and less than 4 months............................................................
4 and less than 5 months............................................................
5 and less than 6 months............................................................
Total less than Gmonths....................................................
6 and less than 7 months............................................................
7 and less than 8 months............................................................
8 and less than 9 months............................................................
9 and less, than 10 months...........................................................
10 and less than 11 months.........................................................
11 and less than 12 months.........................................................
Total, less than 1 year............................................ .........
1to 2 years................................................................................
4 to 5 years................................................................................
Total, over 1 year.... ........................................................



0
11
14
12
5
2
50
2
2
0
2
0
2
58
1
I
2

LEAD POISONING IK MAXU FAC TUBE OF STOBAGE BATTEBIES.

27

The symptoms of 40 cases of lead poisoning were reported in some
detail, and when analyzed reveal the following facts: Twenty-four
were cases of typical lead colic ; 9 of the other 16 complained of abdomi­
nal pain, 7 did not. In 22 anemia was a marked feature. In 27 there
was constipation and in 3 diarrhea. Vomiting was pronounced in 7,
persistent nausea in 4, severe headache in 9, in 4 of which there
was dizziness also. Myalgia was one of the clxief symptoms in 7 cases.
Twenty-three out of the 40 had nervous symptoms. Five of these
cases are noted as showing “ marked nervousness,’’ while 4 had "ob­
stinate insomnia’’; 4 had weakness of the wrists; 3 had wrist palsy; 1
had a period of unconsciousness at the beginning of his attack of
colic; another was taken with violent delirium while in the hospital
for colic, and still another had repeated attacks of an epileptiform
character. In 4 the physicians noted “ mental dullness.”
Of these 40 men 15 had never been sick before except for the
diseases of childhood; 23 had had no former attack of lead poisoning,
5 had a history of an earlier attack, 4 had had two previous attacks,
1 had had four, and 7 said that they had been sick many times.
The only fatal case reported during 1913 was that of a Polish
workman who had been employed for about two months, at what
particular process is not known. According to the statement of
the two physicians who saw him, he was taken with acute lead
colic and his friends advised him to drink whisky to stop the pain,
which he did to such an extent that he developed acute alcoholism
also, followed by delirium tremens and death. The death certificate
gives lead poisoning, with acute alcoholism as contributory cause.
LEAD POISONING IN THE INDUSTRY IN GREAT BRITAIN AND
GERMANY.

If we compare the records of cases of lead poisoning during 1913
in the five large factories in the United States with the most recent
British and German records, we can see the difference made by
careful sanitary and medical control of this industry.
The rate of poisoning in these five factories, as shown by records
which are far from complete, is almost 18 for 100 men employed.
According to Wagener1 the rate 20 years ago in five German facto­
ries was 14 per 100, which even at that time was considered fright­
fully high (<
ersckreckend kock) .
The attention of the factory inspectors was called to lead poisoning
in the accumulator works in Berlin as early as 1889, and as a result
certain improvements were introduced which were gradually extended
to other regions, and by 1898 the detailed regulations which are
now in force were made applicable throughout Germany. Their
effect is strikingly shown in the records of several of the large factor­
1 Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift fur o.Tentliche Gestmdheitspflcge, 1902, vol. 34, p. 5&I.



BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

28

ies. For instance, the German Factory Inspection Report for 1912 1
contains the history of lead poisoning in a single largo factory in the
Arnsberg district as follows:
CASES OF LEAD POISONING AMONG EMPLOYEES IN ONE FACTORY IN GERMANY,
BY YEARS, 1897 TO 1912.

Year.

Cases of lead poisoning.
Number
employed
in lead
Rate per
processes. Number. 100 em­
ployees.

1897................
189 8
189 9
190 0
190 1
190 2
190 3
190 4

189
237
316
298
237
216
263
374

21.16
7.59
2.85
2.01
1.27
2.31
1.90
2.14

Year.
1905
1906.
1907.
1908.
1909.
1910.
1911.
1912.

Cases of lead poisoning.
Number
employed
in lead
R ate per
sses. Number. 100 em­
ployees.
419
465
461
426
411
379
408
411

1.91
1.51
1.30
1.17
.73
1.05
1.23
.97

The effect of the regulations which came into force in May, 1898,
is shown clearly in this table.
Here is a brief resume of the regulations for the control of this
industry in Germany: 2
Adequate ventilation; floors impervious to water, not made of
wood, or linoleum, or soft cement in any room in which lead is handled.
Walls smooth, covered with washable paint or whitewashed once a
year.
Casting, polishing, and pasting each in a separate room.
Hoods over melting pot and over lead burning. No lead dust to
be allowed to escape in the course of cutting and polishing.
Hoods with exhaust over paste mixing and pasting.
Floors to be cleaned with water twice a day.
Separate lunch rooms, separate dressing and wash rooms, wash­
ing to be compulsory, one bath a week. Work clothes to be provided
consisting of a full suit and cap. Soap, towels, and brushes to be
provided.
No women or minors to be employed.
Pasters and mixers to be allowed to work only eight hours a day
with an hour and a half for lunch, or six continuous hours. Medical
inspection once a month.
Some factories go beyond even these requirements. Thus the
Hagen factory 3 furnishes milk free of cost to the workmen. It is
probably the model factory of this kind in the world and without
going into detail the most important features maybe noted. All the
pig lead for the casting kettles is handled with gloves, and no case of
1Jahresbcrichte der Gewerbe aufsiehtsbcamten und Bergebehorden fur das Jahr 1912, vol. 1, p. 435.
* Wagener, Deutsche Vierteljahressciiriftfiir oiTentliche Gesundheitspflege, 1902, vol. 34, pp. 536-538.
» Jahresberichte der Gewerbe aufsichlsbeamten und Borgbehorden fur das .Tahr 1912,.vol. l,p. 136. Also
Inaugural Dissertation, Eric Pagels, Leipzig, 1910.



LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTEKIES.

29

lead p o i s o n in g lias occurred thus far among the men who transport
pig lead or kegs of oxides or collect dross and refuse lead. Much of
the casting is rendered less dangerous by the use of machinery, but
there are still occasional cases of plumbism among the finishers and
trimmers of castings.
In mixing, the oxides are dumped mechanically into a closed mixer
provided with an exhaust, and here also the liquid constituents of the
paste are added and the paste is mixed in this same machine. Only
negative plates are pasted; the positive are Plante plates and the
paste for the former is applied, not by hand but by machine.
In lead burning, the temperature caused by the flame is said not
to be over 550°*C. (1022° F.). The danger here is thought to be
from dust and the workbenches in the assembling and lead-burning
room are covered with fine wire netting which allows the dust to fall
through and be caught in a space below.
All the floors are of smooth, impervious material—cement or zinc—
and are thoroughly wet before they are swept. The only respirators
in use consist of light, aluminum frames with thin layers of cotton
slipped in and with a valve to let out the exhaled air. The men are
given 15 minutes at noon and evening to wash and to change their
clothes, and there are attendants in charge of the lavatories whose
duty it is to see that the men rinse their mouths, brush their teeth,
and subject their hands and nails to thorough scrubbing with soap.
The physician in charge emphasizes the importance of care of the
mouth and teeth and says that it has an influence in preventing the
development of the lead line. The men who mix the paste and those
who apply it take two baths a week, all others take one.
Medical examination of the men is made weekly instead of monthly,
and ever since 1908 a chemist has been employed to examine the
blood of all men who are suspected of lead poisoning. The blood is
examined for the presence of basophilic granules in the red corpuscles,
and if as many as 200 out of 1,000,000 red corpuscles are found to be
thus affected, the man is suspended from any work with lead until
his blood is normal again. Between 1908 and 1912, 85 suspected
men have been examined and about half have shown this change in
the blood. In some cases the number of degenerated corpuscles
reached 24,000 per million.
The physician in this factory has described his method of examin­
ation as follows: Each week the men pass before him and he inspects
the tongue and gums, tests the strength of the hands, and also exam­
ines them closely for traces of lead on the skin. When the man shows
evidence of carelessness in washing, the doctor applies a solution of
0.4 per cent sodium sulphide, which by blackening the deposits of
lead serves as a valuable object lesson to the man. He questions the
man as to his health, makes a note of pallor, of fibrillary twitchings



30

BULLETIN OF TIIE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

of the musclcs of face and forearms, and if he has the least suspicion
that the man shows signs of lead absorption he orders a blood exam­
ination and on the outcome of that decides whether or not the man
must be taken away from leadwork and put into some safe place, such
as the carpenter shop. He makes it a rule that the men in the most
dangerous parts of the factory must be changed to outdoor work for
a week and then back again, since he finds that this change improves
the blood count and lessens the number of granulated red blood cor­
puscles. This physician emphasizes the importance of giving verbal
instructions to the men, which he says are worth far more than any
number of written regulations.
All of these measures are amply justified by the excellent report as
to lead poisoning for this factory. The record given on page 28 of the
large factory in the Arnsberg district belongs to the Ilagen works.
There is no statement in the German report as to lead poisoning
throughout the whole industry in that country, but the British An­
nual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops for the
year 1912 has a record of all the cases of lead poisoning in the making
of electric accumulators in Great Britain. In 1911 the approximate
number of men employed in processes which involve exposure to
lead was 1,149 and the number of cases of lead poisoning reported
was 24, with 1 fatality, which would mean an attack rate per 100
employed of 2.1. There was a notable increase, absolute and rela­
tive, in 1912 ; the number employed was 1,254, and there were 38
cases, with 1 fatality,1 a rate of 3 per 100. The inspectors call atten­
tion to this increase and urge that exhaust ventilation be required
to carry off the fumes from lead burning and the dust caused by
filing and trimming.
There is an interesting detailed report of the examination of the
men employed in one English factory.2 The figures given do not
represent cases classed as lead poisoning, but simply men who showed
undoubted marks of lead absorption.
CASES OF LEAD ABSORPTION AMONG EMPLOYEES IN ONE FACTORY IN ENGLAND,
BY OCCUPATIONS.
Occupation.

Employees
Number of showing Rate per
employees marks of 100 em­
examined. lead ab­ ployees.
sorption.

Casting____ ________
Pasting.........................................................................................................
Forming........................................................................................................
Lead burning...............................................................................................
Filing............................................................................................................ 1
Finishing....................................................................................................... V
Cleaning.........................................................................................................
Packing.........................................................................................................
Others...........................................................................................................
Total___ ____
*

2S
27
16
19
29
16
24
159

1 Great Britain. Annual Report of th<‘ Inspector of Factories, 1912, |>. 205.
Ibid., p. 201.

2




4
6
5
9
3
5
39

14
22
31
37
31
19
21
24.5

LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

31

It is easy to see from this report why the dangei-s of lead burning
and finishing were so apparent to the-inspectors. The process of
pasting and of mixing the paste, which with us is the most dangerous
of all, has been well controlled in England and docs not cause nearly
as much trouble as the comparatively safer work of load burning.
In 1910 visits were paid to two large accumulator factories in the
city of London. As the vigilance of the factory inspectors has brought
about various improvements during the last four years in British
factories of this kind, it is probable that some of the features which
were noted at the time of these visits as being open to criticism have
since been corrected. On the whole even in 1910 conditions were
superior in these factories to those in our own, chiefly because of
better supervision of the men at work, greater personal care of the
employees, and better housekeeping. We shall mention only the
most important features in these factories. The casting rooms had
in both instances hooded kettles provided with exhausts. In one
the kettles were further protected by sliding panels of iron which
could be open or closed according to the draft in the room. The
surface of the lead in the kettles was covered with charcoal to prevent
the formation of skim or dross. The Home Office assumes that lead
fumes or oxide dust may escape from molten lead no matter how low
the temperature, and therefore insists on hoods for the kettles.
In both factories the mixing rooms in which also the paste was
made were quite separate; the floors were of cement, kept moist, and
cleaned by flushing. The mixing was done under an exhaust draft
in a closed machine, and the men at work wrore respirators which in
England consist of muslin bags tied over the mouth and nose. The
scales 011 which the ingredients were weighed were also protected by
a hood with an exhaust. In one factory 2 men were employed, at
mixing; in the other 14 took tiirns at it, 2 working at a time. Neither
room was entirely dust free.
The paste was given out to the pasters, who worked in a room in
which no other process was carried on. These rooms were large with
cement floor, kept continually wet. The pasters stood on boards to
keep their feet dry. The workbenches were covered with sheet lead
and protected by a raised edge to keep the paste from falling to the
floor. The men were furnished with full suits of overalls, oilcloth
or leather aprons, and heavy leather gloves.
In both factories the drying room was open to criticism because
of the fine dust on floors and shelves. It was said that they were
flushed out once a week.
In the forming rooms they had a way of drawing off the acid
entirely before the plates were taken out, which added to the comfort
of the workmen removing the plates.



32

BULLETIN OF THE- BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Assembling and lead burning were at that tune carried on just as
in American factories, with no special precautions against dust or
fumes, because, as was explained by the factory inspector, these proc­
esses were not supposed to be attended with danger. As we have
already noted, there has been a change of opinion since then and an
effort is to be made to carry off the fumes and prevent the dust.
As is usual in British factories, the lavatories in these two con­
formed to the strict letter of the law, but were not luxurious. They
were, however, entirely adequate. The men exposed to lead are
required to take a bath once a week. There were large lunch rooms,
and no food might be kept or eaten in any other room, nor were any
of the men allowed to enter the lunch room before taking off their
overalls and washing.
Medical inspection was monthly in one, every three weeks in the
other. In the larger of the two factories, between 80 and 100
men came in contact with lead in casting, mixing, pasting, and
drying. There had been no case of lead poisoning discovered
among them during the preceding year. Here, as in the German
factory, a man engaged in lead work who seemed indisposed was
given a job in the open air temporarily. This company sold tooth­
brushes to the men at twopence halfpenny apiece, and if the man
failed to use his toothbrush, if his teeth were persistently dirty, he
was discharged.
The British special rules for the making of electric accumulators
are published in full in the appendix; essentially they are the same
as the German.1
The German rate of lead poisoning in this industry, or rather that
of the greatest German factory, is less than 1 per 100 men employed,
and the British rate is about 3 per 100 employed. The rate in our
five largest factories is almost 18 per 100 employed, and this great
difference must be explained by the neglect in this country of factory
sanitation and of personal care of the men employed. No new
legislation is needed to bring about reforms in this industry; the
laws of Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania are quite adequate. It
is a question of adequate enforcement.
SUMMARY.
The ordinary storage battery, not the Edison, consists of plates of
lead, or of lead grids covered with a lead oxide paste. In the prep­
aration of these plates and grids the workmen are exposed to the
1 The French law of October 1,1913, covers establishments in which storage batteries are manufactured.
The regulations, which are given in the appendix, are similar to the German and British, but there is 0110
specially good section which requires that men who apply for employment in an accumulator factory must
be examined by a physician and that they can not continue to work without obtaining a second certificate
of good health at the end of the first month, and after that, at the end of every three months. The exam­
ining physician is paid by the company.



LEAD POISONING IN MANUFACTURE OF STORAGE BATTERIES.

33

danger of lead poisoning through dust of metallic lead and through
fumes from melted lead.
In inaking and applying the paste the workmen are exposed to
still greater danger of poisoning from the oxides of lead.
The subsequent processes of assembling, lead burning, etc., involve
exposure to the fumes of melted lead and to the dust from dried
oxide paste.
These dangers can be obviated by installing hoods and exhausts to
carry off fumes and dust, by substituting machine for hand work,
by providing ample washing facilities for the workmen and insisting on
strict cleanliness on their part, by providing a separate lunch room
as the only place where food may be kept and eaten, and by keeping
the premises where the work is carried on clean and free from dust.
Inasmuch as some risk always remains after all possible precautions
have been taken, there should be thorough medical supervision of the
men in order to detect and eliminate those who are oversusceptible
to lead, to discover cases in the early stages, and to give instructions
to the men on the care of themselves.
By using precautions such as these, German and British employers
have greatly reduced the amount of lead poisoning in factories of
this kind. In the largest German factory the rate of poisoning in
1912 was 0.97 per 100 employed, and in Great Britain the rate for all
factories during this same year was 3 per 100.
In the United States the five largest factories were during 1913
employing about 915 men in work which exposed them to lead. It
has been possible to discover 164 cases of lead poisoning which
occurred among the employees of these plants in this one year. This
makes a rate of 17.9 per 100 employed.
The largest proportion of lead poisoning occurred among the men
handling lead oxides, the lowest among those handling metallic lead
only. The disease was usually typical acute lead poisoning, with
gastric symptoms predominating, but even an acute attack often
resulted in incapacitation from work lasting for several weeks to two
months or over. Out of 40 cases 23 had marked nervous symptoms.
Chronic plumbism was rarely found, since the men hardly ever remain
long at the work.
The employees in this industry in the United States are for the
greater part of foreign birth; many speak no English and are ignorant
of the dangers of the work, or if they recognize the danger, do not know
how to protect themselves against it.
The difference between the American rate of lead poisoning and the
British and German rates must be explained by the different standards
of sanitation and management in this country as compared with those
of European countries. None of the five large factories in the United
73764°— B u ll. 165— 15------- 3




34

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

States comes up to the British or German establishments in cleanli­
ness or in the removal of fumes and dust, and only one provides as
careful medical supervision. Smaller factories in this country are
even less well managed.
The three States in which the five largest factories are situated
have already passed laws which cover this industry and provide safe­
guards for the men engaged in it, and if these laws are strictly enforced
by intelligent factory inspectors there is no reason why our record of
lead poisoning should not fall, as it has fallen under intelligent super­
vision in Great Britain and Germany.




APPENDIX A.—REGULATIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN FOR THE
MANUFACTURE OF ELECTRIC ACCUMULATORS.1
Whereas the manufacture of electric accumulators has been certified in pursuance
of section 79 of the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, to be dangerous;
I hereby, in pursuance of the powers conferred on me by that act, make the following
regulations, and direct that they shall apply to all factories and workshops or parts
thereof in which electric accumulators are manufactured.
In these regulations “lead process” means pasting, casting, lead burning, or any
work involving contact with dry compounds of lead.
Any approval given by the chief inspector of factories in pursuance of these regula­
tions shall be given in writing, and may at any time be revoked by notice in writing
signed by him.
Duties of occupier.

\. Every room in which casting, pasting, or lead burning is carried on shall contain
at least 500 cubic feet of air space for each person employed therein, and in computing
this air space, no height above 14 feet shall be taken into account.
These rooms and that in which the plates are formed shall be capable of thorough
ventilation. They shall be provided with windows made to open.
2. Each of the following processes shall be carried on in such manner and under
such conditions as to secure effectual separation from one another and from any other
process.
(a) Manipulation of dry compounds of lead;
(b) Pasting;
(c) Formation and lead burning necessarily carried on therewith;
(d) Melting down of old plates.
Provided, That manipulation of dry compounds of lead carried on as in regulation *5
(b) need not be separated from pasting.
3. The floors of the rooms in which manipulation of dry compounds of lead or pasting
is carried on shall be of cement or similar impervious material, and shall be kept con­
stantly moist while work is being done.
The floors of these rooms shall be washed with a hose pipe daily.
4. Every melting pot shall be covered with a hood and shaft so arranged as to remove
the fumes and hot air from the workrooms.
Lead ashes and old plates shall be kept in receptacles specially provided for the
purpose.
5. Manipulation of dry compounds of lead in the mixing of the paste or other pro­
cesses shall not be done except (a) in an apparatus so closed or so arranged with an
exhaust draft as to prevent the escape of dust into the workroom; or (6) at a bench
provided with (1) efficient exhaust draft and air guide so arranged as to draw the
dust away from the worker, and (2) a grating on which each receptacle of the com­
pound of lead in use at the time shall stand.
6. The benches at which pasting is done shall be covered with sheet lead or other
impervious material, and shall have raised edges.
7. No woman, young person, or child shall be employed in the manipulation of dry
compounds of lead or m pasting.
8. (a) A duly qualified medical practitioner (in these regulations referred to as the
“appointed surgeon”) who may be the certifying surgeon, shall be appointed by the
occupier, such appointment unless held by the certifying surgeon to be subject to the
approval of the chief inspector of factories.
(6) Every person employed in a lead process shall be examined once a month by the
appointed surgeon, who shall have power to suspend from employment in any lead
process.
(c)
No person after such suspension shall be employed in a lead process without
written sanction entered in the health register by the appointed surgeon. It shall be

1 Factory and workshop acts. Dangerous and unhealthy industries. Regulations and Special Rules
in force on 1st January, 1908. London, 1907, p. 7. [Regulations, dated November 21, 1903,made by the
secretary of state for the manufacture of electric accumulators.]




35

36

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOK STATISTICS.

sufficient compliance with this regulation for a written certificate to be given by the
appointed surgeon and attached to the health register, such certificate to be replaced
by a proper entry in the health register at the appointed surgeon’s next visit.
(d)
A health register in a form approved by the chief inspector of factories shall be
kept, and shall contain a list of all persons employed in lead processes. The appointed
surgeon will enter in the health register the dates and results of his examinations of the
persons employed and particulars of any directions given by him. He shall oni a pre­
scribed form furnish to the chief inspector of factories on the ist day of January in each
year a list of the persons suspended by him during the previous year, the cause ancl
duration of such suspension, and the number of examinations made.
The health register shall be produced at any time when required by II. M. inspectors
of factories or by the certifying surgeon or by the appointed surgeon.
9. Overalls shall be provided for all persons employed in manipulating dry com­
pounds of lead or in pasting.
The overalls shall be washed or renewed once every week.
10. The occupier shall provide and maintain—
(а) A cloakroom in which workers can deposit clothing put off during working
hours. Separate and suitable arrangements shall be made for the storage
of the overalls required in regulation 9.
(б A dining room unless the factory is closed during meal hours.
)
11. No person shall be allowed to introduce, keep, prepare, or partake of any food,
drink, or tobacco, in any room in which a lead process is carried on. Suitable pro­
visions shall be made for the deposit of food brought by the workers.
This regulation shall not apply to any sanitary drink provided by the occupier and
approved by the appointed surgeon.
12. The occupier shall provide and maintain for the use of the persons employed in
lead processes a lavatory, with soap, nailbrushes, towels, and at least one lavatory
basin for every five such persons. Each such basin shall be provided with a waste
pipe, or the basins shall be placed on a trough fitted with a waste pipe. There shall be
a constant supply of hot and cold water laid on to each basin.
Or, in the place of basins the occupier shall provide and maintain troughs of enamel
or similar smooth impervious material, in good repair, of a total length of 2 feet for
every five persons employed, fitted with waste pipes, and without plugs, with a suffi­
cient supply of warm water constantly available.
The lavatory shall be kept thoroughly cleansed and shall be supplied with a suffi­
cient quantity of clean towels once every day.
13. Before each meal and before the end of the day’s work, at least 10 minutes, in
addition to the regular meal times, shall be allowed for washing to each person who has
been employed in the manipulation of dry compounds of lead or in pasting:
Provided, That if the lavatory accommodation specially reserved for such persons
exceeds that required by regulation 12, the time allowance may be proportionately
reduced, and that if there be one basin or 2 feet of trough for each such person this
regulation shall not apply.
14. Sufficient bath accommodation shall be provided for all persons engaged in the
manipulation of dry compounds of lead or in pastiug, with hot and cold water laid on,
and a sufficient supply of soap and towels.
This rule shall not apply if m consideration of the special circumstances of any par­
ticular case the chief inspector of factories approves the use of local public baths
when conveniently near, under the conditions (if any) named in such approval.
15. The floors and benches of each workroom shall be thoroughly cleansed daily,
at,a time when no other work is being earned on in the room.
Duties of persons employed.

16. All persons employed in lead processes shall present themselves at the appointed
times for examination by the appointed surgeon as provided in regulation 8.
No person after suspension shall work in a lead process, in any factory or workshop
in which electric accumulators are manufactured, without written sanction entered in
the health register by the appointed surgeon.
17. Every person employed in the manipulation of dry compounds of lead or in
pasting shall wear the overalls provided under regulation 9. The overalls, when not
being worn, and clothing put off during working hours, shall be deposited in the places
provided under regulation 10.
18. No person shall introduce, keep, prepare, or partake of any food, drink (other
than any sanitary drink provided by the occupier and approved by the appointed
surgeon), or tobacco in any room in which a lead process is carried on.



LEAD POISONING IN MAXUtACTUitE OF STORAGE BATTEBIES.

37

19. No person employed in a lead process shall leave the premises or partake of
meals without previously and carefully cleaning and washing the hands.
20. Every person employed in the manipulation of dry compounds of lead or in
pasting shall take a bath at least once a week.
21. No person shall in any way interfere, without the concurrence of the occupier or
manager, with the means and appliances provided for the removal of the dust or
fumes, and for the carrying out of these regulations.
These regulations shall come into force on the 1st day of January, 1904.
A . A k e r s -D o ug las ,

H ome O ffice , W hitehall ,




21st November, 190S.

One of His Majesty’s Principal
Secretaries of State.

APPENDIX B.—GENERAL PROVISIONS OF THE FRENCH LAW
GOVERNING THE MANUFACTURE OF ELECTRIC ACCUMU­
LATORS.1
The kettles for melted lead must be kept in separate well-venti­
lated rooms, and efficient air exhausts must be provided.
Work with lead oxides must be done wet as far as possible. When
this is not practicable, it must be carried on mechanically in a closed
apparatus, or if the oxides must be handled, then the work must be
done under a strong exhaust; if this is impossible, the workmen must
be given respirators.
Mixing must be done in a separate room. No dry oxides may be
handled in rooms where other work is done.
Oxides, dry or wet, must never be handled with bared hands.
The employer must provide proper tools or impermeable gloves.
The tables on which the paste is handled must be covered with
impermeable material and kept in good condition.
The floor must be of impermeable material and kept always
damp. Tables, floor, and walls must be washed at least once a week.
Overalls must be provided and maintained in good condition.
No food is to be carried into the workroom. Separate dressing
and wash rooms must he provided with sufficient washing facilities,
soap* one clean towel a week for each man, and a locker for each man’s
clothes; a weekly warm bath, tub or shower, must be provided.
For specified workers a, daily warm bath must be provided.
Before employment a man must undergo a medical examination
to show that he is not suffering from any disease which would
make his employment in such work dangerous. At the end of the
first month he must undergo a similar examination, and after that
at three-month intervals. A medical register must be kept of all
the men employed.
i Bulletin do l'lnspection du Travail et de 1’Hygiene Industrielle, 1913, Nos. 5 and 6, pages 421 to 424.
38