Here are three classic books on occupational diseases. Some may be available on the internet or at a good library.
Ramazzini, Bernardino. Diseases of Workers. [trans.] Wilmer Cave Wright. Special Edition 1983 The Classics of Medicine Library, Birmingham, AL. Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 1940. Translated from the original1713 Latin text.
Hunter, Donald. The Diseases of Occupation. 6th. Kent : Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1978. p. 1257.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Occupational Diseases: A Guide to Their Recognition. [ed.] Austin Henschel, Robert Ligo, Irving Tabershaw, Lorice Ede Marcus Key. NIOSH Publication No. 77-181. s.l. : Superintendent of Documants, 1977.
You should also do a search of the NIOSH web site for dyes. Here you will find volumes on the dyes and the dye industry. You may also want search for "14 carcinogens." Some of the search results will most likely have descriptions of the industry during the period you mentioned.
With the wisdom of this listserve, I bet a few of you may provide some information on this topic.
A family member is writing a history of a relative who was a Harvard-educated dye chemist at a New England textile firm from 1906 until about 1930. At that time his health began to deteriorate and he “retired” from chemistry. He died in 1936 of liver cancer at 51 years of age.
Both she and I know it is highly speculative to associate his work and poor health, but she wonders what laboratory safety precautions might have been in common industrial use during that time. Do you know?
When I worked at the University of Wisconsin, a retired chemistry professor there told me that his first “gas mask” was purchased from army surplus prior to WW II. In my career, I’ve helped remodel labs with functional fume hoods dating from the 1920s. Were masks, gloves, hoods, etc. in common use in industrial labs between 1906 and 1930?
Perhaps there is a book that traces this safety history. If so, I’d appreciate hearing about it.
Peter A. Reinhardt
Director, Office of Environmental Health & Safety
135 College St., Suite 100
New Haven, CT 06510-2411
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