Consul-General Mason of Paris, furnishes a report on the agitation that has been in progress for some time in France against the use of white lead in preparing paint for industrial purposes. The consul general writes:
After many years of more or less desultory agitation and discussion the protest against the use of white load as a material for industrial painting has assumed in this country the form and proportions of a definite and insistent measure of reform. There was held recently in the great hall of the Trocadero in Paris a meeting of scientists, philanthropists, contractors, master and journeymen painters to the number of nearly 2000, the purpose of which was to put into defi-nite form some of the facts and statistics which show the extent and danger of lead poisoning among painters and workmen in the white lead factories, and the effects of such exposure upon the health of the work-ingmen and their children.
The president of the assemblage, Prof. Dieulafoy, was assisted by some of the most eminent scientists and physicians of France, among whom were Dr. Brouardel, Profs. Richelot, Chantemesse and Vidal, and a large number of practising physicians from Paris and the Departments. Among the vast assemblage were delegates from the syndicate of industrial painters in Paris, Lille, Bourges, Bourdeaux, Nantes and other cities, so that the proceedings assumed a distinctly national and representative character.
In his opening address Prof. Dieulafoy stated that it was a matter of common knowledge and experience among physicians whose practice is among people of the working class, that journeymen painters who use whitelead for interior or exterior work on buildings, as well as the workmen employed in white lead factories, are often afflicted with a long train of diseases resulting from saturnine poisoning. Among these meladies were cited saturnine colic, an intensely painful form of abdominal cramp; muscular and articular rheumatism, ending in muscular atrophy and paralysis; saturnine anemia and gout, which reduce the individual to a state of complete incapacity for labor, and finally saturnine nephritis, which disorganizes the kidneys and leads to urem a and its various epileptic, apoplec tic and delirious complications.
This formidable arraignment was taken up and continued by Dr. Mosney, physician in chief at the Hospital St. Antoine, whose practice has brought him into contact with a great many cases of saturnine disease. Dr. Mosney read a letter frem Prof. Bertillion, the eminent crimonologist, who confirmed from his own experience and observation the now generally acknowledged assertion that the manufacture and use for painting of white lead constitutes two of the most unwholesome and dangerous occupations known to modern industry.
The poison attacks the system both through the lungs by inhalation in the form of fine particles of dust, and through the digestive organs when taken into the stomach with food or drink that has been cotaminated by the touch of soiled hands or exposure in an atmosphere poisoned with the dust or fumes of lead. The arraignment having been completed and driven home by statistics and scientific testimony from which there could be no reasonable appeal, the meeting took up the question of a practical remedy. This was declared to be simply the abolition by law of the manufacture and use of white lead as a painting material and its replacement by zinc white, a substitute which is superior in whiteness, equally durable, harmless to human health, and only about 1 per cent more expensive to produce.