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Disease from Carbon Bisulphide



Of late years the very disagreeable volatile fluid, known origi nally as the alcohol of sulphur, then as sulphuret of carbon, and now as carbon bisulphide, has come into great use in various in dustrial pursuits. It is employed for taking grease out of wool; for extraction and purification of paraffine; for extraction of oil from oil-cakes when pressure is of no further use; for draining the sawdust used in refining oil by filtration; for extracting grease from bones or kitchen refuse; and for extracting aromatic essences and perfumes from plants. But the most important use of carbon bisulphide is, perhaps, in the manufacture of caoutchouc articles, toy-balloons, and water-proofings. In making toy-balloons the bi sulphide is used to dissolve the caoutchouc and bring it into such a state of softness as will allow it to yield to the blast of air from the bellows. In water-proofing, it is used for the varnishing with india-rubber. The peculiarity of the bisulphide of carbon is, that on its volatilization the substance dissolved in it is deposited, while it, itself, diffuses in vapor through the air.

The action of this vapor on the workmen was originally de scribed by M. Delpech to the Academy of Medicine of Paris, on January 15th, 1s56. The effects are peculiarly severe. They con sist, first, of acute symptoms of anaesthesia, with intoxication, which afterwards become chronic. The head is much affected at all times, and partial insanity is not infrequent. The taste is vitiated; the sight and hearing are troubled; the digestion is perverted so that the appetite is increased, even to gluttony, and there is persistent nausea. The breathing organs, the organs of the circulation, and all the secreting organs are deranged, and such enfeeblement results that the workers, so long as they continue at their work, are simply wretched.

No name can be found for this particular disease in the old classification of diseases. It is, in fact, a malady, sui generis, from which the victim of it suffers so long as he labors. The symptoms include derangement of mind as well as body. The disease ap proaches most nearly to the general paralysis of the insane, and we may classify it as cerebral paralysis.

Under an improved hygienic system, including better ventila tion of the factories in which the bisnlphide of carbon is used in the arts, the resultant dangers from its use, above described, have been greatly reduced during the last few years. They are not, however, as yet entirely removed.

organs, air, oil and paralysis