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Disease from Chlorine Gas



Workers engaged in the manufacture of chloride of lime are exposed to chlorine, one of the most fatal and dangerous of gases. At the works where chloride of lime is made chlorine is con veyed into chambers or rooms closely vaulted in. The chambers are lighted by strong panes of glass which, firmly inserted in the wall, are just sufficient to allow the yellow color of the chlorine in the chamber to be seen. Within the vaults are shelves on which lime is laid before the chlorine is admitted. Then, the vault being closed, the chlorine is allowed to enter and remain in con tact with the lime to form chloride of lime.

When the change is complete the doors of the vault are opened, and the workmen enter to remove the chloride. They wrap round their months large shawls or towels saturated with water before they enter, and they come out, frequently, to breathe fresh air. The water in the towels absorbs much of the chlorine, and direct risk is in this manner saved, but they rarely escape some risk, and often come out with great oppression of breathing and irritative cough. They suffer also from irritation of the con junctival membrane of the eye, caused by the gas, and they use this irritation as a test of the endurability of the atmosphere within the chamber. If the eyes do not become irritable they feel safe in continuing at the occupation.

It seems clear that after a time the workers tolerate the inha lation of chlorine to a considerable extent and, from this cause, suffer much less than would at first sight be expected. Neverthe less, in all I have examined, and I once had the opportunity of carrying out an extended examination, I found no chlorine workers who were free from affection of the lung. They all pre sented signs of bronchial affection, with anemia, and they all complained of occasional paroxysms of spasmodic breathing. The healthiest one amongst them was pale, with purple congested lips, indications of frequently distressed breathing and perma dently impaired respiration.

lime, chloride and workers