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Lead And Its Preparations

=Acetate of Lead= (Sugar of Lead).--A glistening white powder or

crystalline mass. Soluble in water, with a sweetish taste. It is

practically the only lead salt which gives rise to acute symptoms, and

only when taken in large doses.

Symptoms.--Metallic taste, dryness in throat, intense thirst,

vomiting, colicky pains, cramps, cold sweat, constipation and scanty

urine, severe headache, convulsions.
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Chronic lead-poisoning is liable to occur in those who handle lead in

any form--white-lead workers, paint manufacturers, plumbers, pottery

workers, etc.

In chronic lead-poisoning the most prominent symptoms are a blue line on

the gums, anæmia, emaciation, pallor, quick pulse, persistent

constipation, colic, cramps in limbs, and paralysis of the extensor

muscles, causing 'dropped hand.' May get saturnine encephalopathies,

of which intense headache, optic neuritis, and epileptiform convulsions,

are the most common. Albumin in urine, tendency to gout, and in women to


Post-Mortem Appearances.--Inflamed mucous membrane of stomach and

intestines, with layers of white or whitish-yellow mucus, impregnated

with the salt of lead.

Treatment.--Sulphate of sodium or magnesium, or a mixture of dilute

sulphuric acid, spirits of chloroform, and peppermint-water. Milk, or

milk and eggs. As a prophylactic among workers in lead, a drink

containing sulphuric acid flavoured with treacle should be given.

Lavatory accommodation should be provided, and scrupulous cleanliness

should also be enjoined in the workshops. The dry grinding of lead salts

should be prohibited. The ionization method of Sir Thomas Oliver is

most useful both as regards cure and also prevention of chronic

poisoning by lead.

Fatal Dose and Fatal Period.--Uncertain.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--Dry the contents of the

stomach or portions of the liver, etc., and incinerate in a porcelain

crucible. Treat the ash with nitric acid, dry, and dissolve in water.

The solution of nitrate of lead may now have the proper tests applied.

Tests.--Sulphuretted hydrogen gives a black precipitate; liquor

potassæ, white precipitate; sulphuric acid, white precipitate, insoluble

in nitric acid; iodide of potassium, a bright yellow precipitate. A

delicate test for lead in water is to stir the water, concentrated or

not, with a glass rod dipped in ammonium sulphide: a brown coloration is

produced. One-tenth of a grain of lead in a gallon of water may be


Chronic lead-poisoning is an 'industrial disease,' and, being an

occupation risk, its victims are entitled to compensation at the hands

of their employers. In case of death, compensation has been awarded even

when at the autopsy the patient has been found to have suffered from

acute tuberculosis of the lungs. The responsibility of apportioning the

monetary value of disablement resulting from the action of the lead

rests with a judge or jury, who are guided by the expert medical

evidence available.

Diachylon, or lead-plaster, is largely used as an abortifacient.