Health and Safety?

Extracted from "The Electroplaters Handbook", fifth edition 1908.
"To preserve the health of the workers in the workshop, should be one of the
chief considerations of the master electro-plater...
If the workmen must handle very frequently or continuously, articles in
contact with cyanide of pottassium, or solutions of this poison, the hands
must be protected with gloves of india rubber, since cyanogen is readiy
absorbed by the skin, and passes into the body, causing ill health. This
absorbtion of cyanogen causes painful sores on the hands.
These are best treated by dipping the sore into dilute sulphuric acid (1 in
10 parts of water) freshly mixed, and enduring the consequent pain as long
as possible. Then well wash the sore in warm soapy water, and bind it up in
a wet rag with soap suds.
Frequent rinsing of the hands in a solution of iron sulphate will neutralize
the bad effects of cyanide, and the nervous exhaustion caused by breathing
cyanide fumes, is best best met by taking Parrish's Chemical Food, or a
similar preparation of iron"
So we seem to have moved from one extreme to other in a very short space of
time.
Reply to
Steve W
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In article , Steve W writes
Since dipping anything soaked in potassium cyanide in dilute sulphuric acid will release lethal HCN (hydrogen cyanide) - the same procedure is AIUI still used in gas chambers in several US states - then I agree this is clearly the opposite extreme to today's nanny state!
BTW, I doubt if cyanogen, (CN)2, is involved. It is much more likely that the cyanide ion, CN-, is absorbed through the skin. The use of fresh ferrous hydroxide as an antidote is however a reasonable, if a somewhat last-ditch, remedy.
Fortunately one is unlikely to be able to acquire cyanide these days unless you have good reason and the requisite facilities.
David
Reply to
David Littlewood

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