Poisonous Wall Paper.

Scientific American 37, 23.5.1857

The attention of S. N. Johnson, Professor of Analyrical Chemistry in Yale College, having been directed to the above subject, by the extract from the London Lancet, published in our columns on page 241 of the present volume, and since copied into the New York Tribune and a great number of our cotemporaries, it has been the means of bringing to his knowledge a similar case which occured at New Haven. It was that of Mr. Solomon Mead, a farmer, and at his request he has communicated the facts to the Tribune:

About the 1st of March last, Mr. Mead began to occupy a new huse - the walls of which are built of gravel and cement - and which is heated by steam. A lower room was used by Mr. and Mrs. Mead as a sleeping apartment. After sleeping in it one night, they found themselves suffering under a strange feeling of depression, almost amounting to illness, which continued during a greater part of the day, and was renewed upon sleeping again in the room. They observed that the effects were most severe during rainy or damp weather. The room, when kept closed for some hours, acquired a disgreeable odor, which was not perceptible when the external air was allowed free access. They ceased to occupy the room, and experienced no recudrence of ill symptoms after sleeping in other parts of the same house. The cause of all this they could not divine, until the article referred to came under their observation. They saw at a glance that the sumptoms there described agreed in kind with their own, and that the dangerous apartment was ornamented with a beautiful green figured paper! It only remained to discover arsenic in the green pigment to explain the cause of their suffering and indisposition. Mr. Mead brought Professor Johnson specimens of the paper, and it was but the work of a few moments to demonstrate the presence of large quantities of arsenic and of copper in the green color.

The pigment which produced the ill consequences in this paper is Vienna green - the most beautiful green pigment known, and is prepared with white arsenic and verdigris - two dangerous poisons. Such poisonous pigments should be prohibited by law.

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