To All Underground And Surface Workmen
Broken Hill lead miners factsheet 1893 with Note 20081015
[Factsheet for Broken Hill Lead Miners, pages 27-28 from the 1892-3 Report of the Board Appointed to Inquire into the Prevalence & Prevention of Lead Poisoning at the BROKEN HILL SILVER-LEAD MINES, to the Honorable the Minister for Mines and Agriculture, Ordered by the NSW [New South Wales, Australia] Legislative Assembly to be Printed 25 May, 1893]
[Note added 15 October 2008 by Elizabeth O’Brien, Manager, Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS). The LEAD Group is web-publishing this factsheet, despite it having been written over a century ago, because:
Prevention Of Lead Poisoning.
To All Underground And Surface Workmen.
Lead gets into the system in the shape of ore-dust, flue-dust, and smoke formed in the course of smelting, by way of the stomach, lungs and skin.
The way to avoid leading is to guard the stomach, lungs and skin as closely as possible; to follow such habits of life that any lead which does enter nevertheless shall be rendered comparatively harmless by nature acting within the body; and to take care that no accumulation of lead particles shall take place in the bowels.
Lead gets into the stomach with the food swallowed, and it gets to the food from dusty or dirty hands as well as from the air; it gets into drink either by dust falling into it or by the drinking-vessel being so carelessly kept that it becomes dusty; it can also reach the stomach from dusty air, which deposits it on the throat, whence it is swallowed. Therefore:
Food should be carefully protected from dust;
Lead gets into the lungs from dusty air breathed in when ore or flue-dust is being handled, and from dusty working clothes which shake lead into the air by movements of the body; as vapour (or smoke) from the smelters, molten bullion, and slag, etc.; and as vapour with tobacco smoke, when tobacco is cut with dirty hands, so that portions of lead or ore are put into the pipe, where they are turned to smoke by the heat and breathed in. Therefore:
Dust should be prevented both underground and at the surface by
Lead gets to the skin as dust, and if allowed to remain upon it long
lead works through
Milk is an excellent preventive, but it must be suitably taken. A
pint a day is probably
Wash hands and rinse the mouth before eating; rinse the mouth before drinking; keep the teeth well brushed and clean.
Bathe every day if possible; do not bathe less than twice a week.
Epsom salts …
Take a wine-glass full (or more or less as may be necessary to cause a single action of the bowels) in a tumbler of water, on getting up after sleeping, once every day.
Notice. – There are a few people who throw the lead off and who are not seriously affected by it. There are other people who cannot throw it off at all, but feel ill, or actually fall ill, almost as soon as they begin work in it. This difference has nothing to do with bodily strength, but is a personal peculiarity. It is therefore of no use to persevere against leading. Persons who suffer soon, however slightly, should leave their work with lead without delay, and seek some other kind of labour. For example: If a man gets colic within a few weeks of taking up his employment, or if he gets colic twice in the first six months, or three times in the first year, he should give up. His constitution will not stand it, and if he keeps on he will probably suffer badly, and permanently, or even fatally.
Men who drink are in special danger of getting leaded, and are sure to suffer seriously.
We beg leave, in conclusion, to express the opinion that this matter of lead-poisoning is of far-reaching importance and urgently requires attention in the general public interest.
[END OF 1893 FACTSHEET]
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.
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