Manufacturer and builder 8, 1873
The Annales de la Sociètè de mèdicine de Gand (Belgium) relates the case of Mr. R. W. -, aged fifty-five, who was suffering from muscular rheumatism affecting chiefly the deltoid and other muscles of the choulder: the patient had also lost the use of both arms. Dr. Crocker, the attending physician, had the painful parts wrapped up in cotton wadding, and precribed lime juice and narcotics. A great improvement was rapidly felt, but it only lasted a short time. For a month afterward the patient's fingers were struck with paralysis. No blue tinge could be seen on his gums, though he had suffered with severe colics at various times. The water used for drinking purposes was obtained from a brick well and kept in wooden pails; the culinary utensils offered nothing worthy of notice.
At last, after long reseaches, Dr. Crocker discovered that for fifteen years preceding his patient had been in the habit of using for blackening his hair a certain liquid that he prepared himself by adding to a pint of water two teaspoonfuls of sugar of lead and three teaspoonfuls of sulphur. This he used to apply to his hair once a week. The physician stopped the use of the mixture, and under the influence of electricity and the use of iodid of potassium the colics disappeared and the patient recovered entirely.
To this we may add the following facts: Madame Valentine, a well-known singing teacher in New York, formerly a French and Italian prima donna, died a few years ago from the results of severe lead paralysis, induced by the daily use of hair dyes and washes for the skin, which she prepared herself, and in which sugar of lead was a prevailing ingredient.
Mr. Samuel Pike, whose death by apoplexy was mentioned in our last January number, page 17, was in the habit of having his hair and beard constantly and carefully dyed a het black. Many physicians ascribed his apoplexy and sudden death to poisoning by the metals in the hair dyes which were absorbed in his system. Cases of sore eyes caused by hair dyes and washes are so common, that it is scarcely necessary to caution those who are suffering in this way to abandon the use of their washes, in case they indulge in them.