Manufacturer and builder 10 / 1877
The value of iodid of potassium to eliminate lead and mercury from the system of men whose constitution, by exposure to lead dust, mercurial vapors, or other forms of those metals, has been injured, is not so well known as it deserves to be. Physicians who keep up with the progress of their calling have long prescribed this substance, the virtue of which was discovered 30 years ago by Prof. Melsen, of Belgium; while the Paris Academy of Sciences lately awarded him a prize of $500 for this discovery, the value of which has been verified by a thirty-year experience.
The full fose of this salt is 5 grains three times a day in solution; but it is better to commence gradually, with increasing doses. The noxious metals are, by the action of this salt, carried away in the urin in the form of double soluble iodids. Prof. Melsesn advises the use of the iodid of potassium as a preventive in cases where men are exposed to the effects of lead dust or mercurial emanations. Workmen affected with lead paralysis have been cured, and othbers who were unable to follow their calling from their liability to saturnine colic, have been enabled to take it up again, fortified vby a regimen of which a dose of iodid of potassium formed part. With regard to mercurial affections the observations have been confirmed by those made at the mercury and mercurial products at these mines have been made the subject of various methods of treatment, curative or preventive, and the good adn lasting effects of the iodid are no longer doubted.
At a special hospital in Vienna, ample occasion has been furnished to watch the action of the iodid in freeing the body from the presence of fixed mercury and preventing its fixation. It has been found in every case in which it has been employed that in the presence of the salt the symptoms characteristic of the mercury are removed or diminished, or prevented from declaring themselves.
The action of the ioded of potasisum appears to be a pure mechanical one. It consists in determining the metal rendered insoluble by the formation of some albuminous compound to take on a soluble form ny the creation of a double iodid removable per viam urinariam. WHether this is the case, or whether its action consists in determing by destruction the evacuation of the morbid tissues cointaining the fixed metal, is however uncertain. But certain it is that by this remedy the danger attendant upon many mining and manufacturing operations has been diminished, and the sufferings of many workmen relieved, and the lives of others saved. Its efficiency is therefore proved beyond doubt, and we hope that it may soon be generally employed.