1860 The Lancet  
Clapton-square, Hackney, a sample of green flock-paper, two napkins soiled with the dejections from a boy aged three years, and a bottle containing an evacuation of a girl aged two years; and on the Sunday following I received a jar containing a child's stomach, unopened, a piece of liver, and a piece of large intestine,-also a bottle of food. 1. The flock-paper was of a dull pea-green tint. It had no gloss upon it, and the size which held the pigment to the paper had been so far decomposed by
more » ... far decomposed by moisture and air as to permit the colour to be brushed off by the slightest friction. The flock patterns were of a deeper green colour, and were in some places barely attached to the paper, on account of the destruction of the size. A piece of paper measuring 6 inches square (36 square inches) weighed 41 47 grains; and furnished, as the mean of three experiments, 12 '99 grains of an arsenical green pigment, and 5'80 grains of carbonate of lime. The arsenical pigment was found to consist of 8 '44 grains of arsenious acid, and 4'55 of oxide of copper; it was therefore nearly pure arsenite of copper, or Scheele's green. 2. The dejections in the napkin from the boy were deeply tinged with bile, and became of a deep blue-green colour with hydrochloric acid, but they did not furnish a trace of arsenic or copper. 3. The evacuation from the girl amounted to 2 '5 fluid ounces. It had a deep yellow colour from the presence of bile, but it did not furnish any evidence of poison, although, from the discoloration of the copper, I at first thought that arsenic was present. 4. The stomach was unopened, and its contents were secured by ligatures at both orifices. Externally, it did not present any remarkable discoloration or sign of irritation; but on the inner surface, at the œsophageal end, there were small patches of a red colour, made up of the peculiar petechial spots which are so characteristic of arsenical poisoning. Diligent search was made for particles of arsenite of copper, but none were found. The contents of the stomach measured five fluid drachms. They were somewhat thick, like gruel, and had a dark chocolate-brown colour. On analysis, they gave a minute trace of copper, and very distinct evidences of arsenic. 5. The piece of liver weighed 945 grains. It did not present any abnormal appearance; but, on analysis, it yielded traces of both arsenic and copper. 6. The piece of intestine was somewhat redder than natural, and showed marks of irritation in the mucous coat, but it did not furnish a trace of poison. 7. The food in the bottle was perfectly free from poison. The results of these investigations leave no doubt in my mind as to the cause of the child's death. The poisonous pigment existing in so large a quantity on the paper, together with the circumstance that the slightest friction would remove it, accounts fully for the origin of the poison; and the presence of it in the dead body answers the question as to the cause of death. It may not be out of place to remark that the quantity of the poison on the paper is sufficient, under circumstances like the present, to be a source of serious danger: for a piece of the paper six inches square contains enough arsenic to destroy two adult persons; and, from the many cases of a like character which have been referred to me, I cannot hesitate to believe that the use of such papers is extremely hazardous. Within the last fortnight, I have had occasion to examine two specimens of green papers which were suspected to be the cause of illness, and in each of them arsenic was present to a large extent: in one case it amounted to nearly ten grains on a surface six inches square; and it almost invariably happens that the poisonous pigment is but loosely attached to the paper, and is easily brushed off by slight friction. When our artificers and manufacturers will learn caution in respect of the use of such poisonous pigments I know not, for already the danger of it has been sufficiently discussed. Nor is there the excuse that, in order to meet the demand for bright and permanent colours, there is any necessity for the employment of mineral pigments. The French, who are our competitors in this matter, have long since abandoned the use of such pigments, and are yet able to outstrip us in the brilliancy of tint. It is high time that our manufacturers should imitate their example.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)57295-0 fatcat:qbxeblpwsretxgpy4hwounoigm