Mercury Poisoning and Dr. Alice Hamilton

The more I learn about mercury poisoning, the more I know my oldest son suffered from it.  If pediatricians had disclosed to me mercury was in his baby shots, I doubt I ever would have allowed them to inject him with it.  But the Dr bullied me into injecting my sweet child to “protect” him.  He lied.

I was born in the 50s, when we all knew Mercury was a very poisonous substance.

MERCURY MMR10 MMR graham parker

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A Scientist Spilled 2 Drops Organic Mercury On Her Hand. This Is What Happened To Her Brain.

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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I asked my oldest son in later years [after all his childhood difficulties] why he never slept at night.  His insomnolence was exhausting even for me.  It must have been far worse for him. 

He said when he lay down to sleep his feet, toes and legs would not stop moving and kept him awake.

I would have to maintain a constant vigil even while sleeping.  He would run outside naked to sit on the bare ground.  I asked him why he did that, too, and he told me there was something that presented relief about sitting on the bare ground.  Go figure—…

At night, I secured doors to the outside with double-keyed locks I had installed.  I slept with the key hanging off of a chain around my neck.  More than once, I would awake to my boy surreptitiously trying to separate me from that key.  All in an effort to plant his bare buttocks to nature.

I was very confused by his behavior to say the least.

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CHRONIC MERCURY POISONING

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It isn’t a hard stretch to make to think of all these toxins to sell, and who better to sell them to but the pharmaceutical industry.  The FDA accommodates such moves by deeming many excipients exempt from human toxicity testing

You can search out references here:

Guidance for Industry Nonclinical Studies for the Safety Evaluation of Pharmaceutical Excipients

https://www.fda.gov/media/72260/download

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Poisoning for profit: Book exposes US corporate cover-up of toxic pollution

2 February 2004

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Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution

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Worst Doctor Cures Throughout History

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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How Mercury Destroys the Brain

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Alice Hamilton

Alice Hamilton (February 27, 1869[3] – September 22, 1970) was an American physician, research scientist, and author who is best known as a leading expert in the field of occupational health and a pioneer in the field of industrial toxicology.

Hamilton trained at the University of Michigan Medical School. She became a professor of pathology at the Woman’s Medical School of Northwestern University in 1897. In 1919, she became the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University.

Her scientific research focused on the study of occupational illnesses and the dangerous effects of industrial metals and chemical compounds. In addition to her scientific work, Hamilton was a social-welfare reformer, humanitarian, peace activist, and a resident-volunteer at Hull House in Chicago from 1887 to 1919. She was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, most notably the Albert Lasker Public Service Award for her public-service contributions.

Early life and family

Hamilton, the second child of Montgomery Hamilton (1843–1909) and Gertrude (née Pond) Hamilton (1840–1917), was born on February 27, 1869, in Manhattan, New York City, New York.[4] She spent a sheltered childhood among an extended family in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where her grandfather, Allen Hamilton, an Irish immigrant, had settled in 1823. He married Emerine Holman, the daughter of Indiana Supreme Court Justice Jesse Lynch Holman, in 1828 and became a successful Fort Wayne businessman and a land speculator. Much of the city of Fort Wayne was built on land that he once owned. Alice grew up on the Hamilton family’s large estate that encompassed a three-block area of downtown Fort Wayne.[5][6][7] The Hamilton family also spent many summers at Mackinac Island, Michigan. For the most part, the second and third generations of the extended Hamilton family, which included Alice’s family, as well as her uncles, aunts, and cousins, lived on inherited wealth.[8]

Montgomery Hamilton, Alice’s father, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He also studied in Germany, where he met Gertrude Pond, the daughter of a wealthy sugar importer. They were married in 1866.[9][10] Alice’s father became a partner in a wholesale grocery business in Fort Wayne, but the partnership dissolved in 1885 and he withdrew from public life. Although the business failure caused a financial loss for the family, Alice’s outspoken mother, Gertrude, remained socially active in the Fort Wayne community.[9][11][12]

The Hamilton sisters: Edith, Alice, Margaret, and Norah

Alice was the second oldest of five siblings that included three sisters (Edith, Margaret, and Norah) and a brother (Arthur “Quint”), all of whom were accomplished in their respective fields. The girls remained especially close throughout their childhood and into their professional careers.[6] Edith (1867–1963), an educator and headmistress at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, became a classicist and renowned author for her essays and best-selling books on ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Margaret (1871–1969), like her older sister Edith, became an educator and headmistress at Bryn Mawr School. Norah (1873–1945) was an artist, living and working at Hull HouseArthur (1886–1967), the youngest Hamilton sibling, became a writer, professor of Spanish, and assistant dean for foreign students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Arthur was the only sibling to marry; he and his wife, Mary (Neal) Hamilton, had no children.[13]

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Alice Hamilton 1988 NIOSH

Alice Hamilton, M.D., was “the first American physician to devote her life to the practice of industrial medicine.”  Born into a prominent family of Fort Wayne, Indiana, she graduated from medical school at the University of Michigan in 1893. 

She later moved into Jane Addams’ Hull House, and there provided a well-baby clinic for residents of the settlement’s neighborhood.

Seeing the problems of poor working class families at close range, her compassion and professional interest were inexorably drawn to the many victims of work-related diseases and injuries. 

She pioneered occupational epidemiology and industrial hygiene in the United States beginning with investigations of lead poisoning among enamellers of bathtubs.

Her findings were so scientifically persuasive, that they caused sweeping reforms, both voluntary and regulatory, to reduce occupational exposure to lead.

In 1919, Dr. Hamilton was appointed assistant professor of industrial medicine at Harvard Medical School, becoming the first woman on the faculty of Harvard University. 

A statue of Alice Hamilton sits in Headwaters Park just off downtown of her hometown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=16956

For more on Dr. Hamilton’s life and work, see the NIOSH website at

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/awards/hamilton/hamhist.html

Her autobiography, Exploring The Dangerous Trades The Autobiography, published in 1943 is available for reading and downloading from the Internet https://ia800302.us.archive.org/17/items/exploringthedang011737mbp/exploringthedang011737mbp.pdf

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Alice Hamilton A decades-long legacy of protecting workers’ health

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History of Alice Hamilton, MD

 Alice Hamilton, MD

Alice Hamilton, M.D. (February 27, 1869 – September 22, 1970)

Many of the first laws and regulations passed to improve the health of workers were the direct result of the work of one dedicated and talented woman, Alice Hamilton, MD. Born into a prominent family in Indiana (her sister is the well-known classicist, Edith Hamilton), Dr. Hamilton graduated from medical school at the University of Michigan in 1893. After accepting a teaching position at the Women’s Medical School of Northwestern University in 1897, she moved into Jane Addams’ Hull House in Chicago. There she opened a well-baby clinic for poor families in the local settlement house neighborhood. As she acquainted herself with the families, she learned of their pains, strange deaths, lead palsy, “wrist drop,” and of the high numbers of widowed women. Encouraged by the reformers of Hull House, she began to apply her medical knowledge to these social problems and thus began her scientific inquiry into occupational health for which she became known.

Dr. Hamilton quickly realized that while some progress in understanding occupational illness and disease was being made in Europe, little was written or understood about occupational disease conditions in the U.S. In 1908, she published one of the first articles on occupational disease in this country and was soon a recognized expert on the topic. Starting in 1910, under the sponsorship initially of a commission of the State of Illinois, and later the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, she conducted a series of brilliant explorations of occupational toxic disorders. Relying primarily on “shoe leather epidemiology,” and the emerging laboratory science of toxicology, she pioneered occupational epidemiology and industrial hygiene in the U.S. Her findings were so scientifically persuasive that they caused sweeping reforms, both voluntary and regulatory, to improve the health of workers.

In 1919, Dr. Hamilton was appointed Assistant Professor of Industrial Medicine at Harvard Medical School and became the first female faculty member at Harvard University. There she served two terms on the Health Committee of the League of Nations. When she retired from Harvard at the age of sixty-six, she became a consultant to the U.S. Division of Labor Standards and served as President of the National Consumers League.

Alice Hamilton Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health

On Friday, February 27, 1987, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health dedicated its facility located at 5555 Ridge Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio, to the memory of Alice Hamilton, M.D. The facility will be known as the “Alice Hamilton Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health” in honor of the first American physician to devote her professional life to the practice of occupational health.

Construction of this facility began in the Fall of 1952 and was completed in November 1954. For several years it was used as the world headquarters and manufacturing plant of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). In this facility, “Ident-o-Tags,” miniature license plates for key chains, were manufactured by disabled veterans for distribution throughout the United States.

In the early 1960’s, a portion of the facility was leased to the Federal Government to provide space for a small number of Federal employees. From the early 1960’s to the early 1970’s more and more of the facility was used by the Federal Government, until by 1973, the entire building was leased for Federal offices and laboratories. In September of 1974, the first employees of NIOSH were assigned to space in the facility. In December 1982, the U.S. Public Health Service purchased the facility for three and one-half million dollars. It now houses the Division of Physical Science and Engineering and the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies. Over 200 people are at work here in engineering, epidemiology, general administration, industrial hygiene, and laboratory research. The facility contains some of the most advanced laboratories and sophisticated scientific equipment in the Institute.

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A brief History of the origins of Occupational Health and Safety in America. (1890s’)

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MEASLES Before & after vaccine marketing

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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When it came to defending the worker, Hamilton was a tigress.  She was a perfect role model for any health official.

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BLS and Alice Hamilton: pioneers in industrial health

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INTRODUCTION TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

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Exploring The Dangerous Trades The Autobiography

Dr Alice Hamiltion of Harvard

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Alice Hamilton

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The more I learn about this woman, the more I admire and even adore her.  It is a great travesty in life to have heroes one can never meet.

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Alice Hamilton and the Development of Occupational Medicine

September 21, 2002

I chose medicine not because I was scientifically-minded, for I was deeply ignorant of science. I chose it because as a doctor I could go anywhere I pleased — to far-off lands or to city slums — and be quite sure I could be of use anywhere.”

Alice Hamilton: Biography

Nothing in Alice Hamilton’s early life suggested her future as a pioneer and social reformer. Her genteel and isolated upbringing clashed with the woman who challenged contemporary definitions of femininity and who moved in the traditionally male circles of the scientific laboratory, the factory and the university.

Born in New York City in 1869, Alice Hamilton was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in a privileged and cultured family aware of its place in American society. She grew up on a large estate acquired by her grandfather, a Scots-Irish immigrant who had invested in land and railroads. From her earliest days, Alice Hamilton’s deepest attachment was to her family. The second of four sisters born within six years (there was also a younger brother), the Hamilton girls pursued educations and professional goals in the face of declining family fortunes. They remained close as adults. None married and in later years they often traveled and lived together. Edith, the eldest, became famous in her fifties as a classicist and author of The Greek Way and Mythology.

The outside world had little influence on the extended Hamilton family, which included eleven cousins living in several houses on the property bequeathed by their grandfather. “We needed no ‘outsiders’,” Hamilton wrote, “having our own games, our own traditions and rules of conduct.” The one outside influence on the family was religion: what Alice called “sober” Presbyterianism. Her father, Montgomery, was passionate about theology and insisted she learn the Westminster Catechism. Her mother, an Episcopalian, practiced a less austere religion that stressed the Psalms and the Sermon on the Mount.

Alice and her sisters did not go to school. Her mother objected to the hours in the Fort Wayne public schools, and her father disliked the curriculum, which stressed subjects he found uninteresting, such as arithmetic and American history. Instead, the sisters received an uneven education at home, learning what their parents thought important: languages and literature in particular. The only formal education before college was to attend Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut. The school was a Hamilton tradition: when young girls reached the age of seventeen, they were sent to Miss Porter’s for two years. In her autobiography, Hamilton described some of the teaching in her day as “the world’s worst.” Since students elected their subjects, Hamilton avoided mathematics and science, choosing Latin, Greek, German, and what was called mental and moral philosophy, which she did not understand but merely learned by memorization and recitation.

In her teens, Alice Hamilton decided to become a doctor. In her autobiography, she offered an explanation for her choice probably colored more by the turns her life later took than by youthful idealism. “I chose medicine,” she wrote, “not because I was scientifically-minded, for I was deeply ignorant of science. I chose it because as a doctor I could go anywhere I pleased — to far-off lands or to city slums — and be quite sure I could be of use anywhere.” Whatever the reason, she could not go to medical school immediately after Miss Porter’s for two reasons: she needed to convince her father that it was a valid choice, and she had to overcome her lack of education in science. She studied physics and chemistry with a Fort Wayne high school teacher, took biology and anatomy courses at a “little, third-rate” medical school, overcame her father’s objections, and enrolled in the medical department of the University of Michigan in 1892.

While not exactly pioneering, Alice Hamilton’s decision to become a doctor was unusual. In the 1890s there were about 4,500 female doctors in the United States, and most trained at women’s medical colleges. Women had just begun to study at coeducational medical schools. Moreover, her decision to study at Michigan put Hamilton in one of the leading medical schools of the day. Unlike most, Michigan stressed clinical and laboratory work and its curriculum emphasized lengthy and rigorous scientific study. In addition to an excellent medical education, Michigan gave Hamilton her “first taste of emancipation,” she said, “and I loved it.”

After graduating from Michigan, Hamilton interned at the Northwestern Hospital for Women and Children in Minneapolis and then at the more prestigious New England Hospital for Women and Children outside Boston. Hamilton already had decided on a career in science rather than practicing medicine, but she took the internships to gain clinical experience. Soon after, she sailed for Germany accompanied by her sister Edith. She intended to study bacteriology and pathology, but German universities did not admit women. The Hamilton sisters eventually gained permission to attend classes at universities in Munich and Leipzig so long as they remained “invisible” to the male students. It was not the last time Hamilton had to overcome prejudice against women to achieve her goals.

Hamilton returned to the United States in 1896, but because she was not in demand as a trained bacteriologist or pathologist, she enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she worked with Simon Flexner, a young pathologist who later headed the Rockefeller Institute in New York. Then she landed a job teaching pathology at the Women’s Medical School of Northwestern University in Chicago. Hamilton accepted it not only because it was a job, but also because it provided the opportunity to live at Hull-House, which she moved into in 1897. Founded by Jane Addams and other socially conscious reformers, Hull-House was the most famous settlement house in the United States. The social settlements attempted to bring the well off in contact with immigrants and the poor. Hull-House made it possible for educated and dedicated young people and the working class to live as neighbors. In her autobiography, Exploring the Dangerous Trades (1943), Hamilton noted what Hull-House taught her: “Life in a settlement does several things to you. Among others, it teaches you that education and culture have little to do with real wisdom, the wisdom that comes from life experiences.”

It was at Hull-House in the first two decades of the twentieth century that Alice Hamilton made her greatest mark in the development of industrial toxicology. At Hull-House, Hamilton treated poor immigrants for diseases often resulting from working conditions. In 1910, Hamilton took part in a commission appointed by the governor of Illinois to study the extent of industrial sickness in the state, particularly the high mortality rates due to industrial poisoning in the lead and associated enamelware industries, rubber production, painting trades, and explosives and munitions. She served as managing director of the survey and made the study of lead industries her special focus.

Hamilton later was asked by Charles Neill, Commissioner of Labor in the U.S. Department of Commerce to undertake a similar survey covering all the states. She received little government backing and no salary, though the government agreed to buy her final report. She was then in her early forties and had become the leading authority on lead poisoning and one of a small group of experts in occupational diseases. Over the ensuing years, Hamilton’s many reports for the federal government dramatized the high mortality rates for workers in dangerous trades and brought about many changes in state and federal laws that were landmarks in American industrial safety legislation.

Hamilton’s work was recognized internationally as well. Starting in 1924, she served a six-year term on the Health Committee of the League of Nations. Also in 1924, she spent six weeks in the Soviet Union at the invitation of the Soviet Public Health Service, which asked her to survey what the country was doing in the field of industrial medicine. She toured a Moscow hospital that was the first facility anywhere devoted only to occupational diseases. She also expressed some envy of Russian women doctors who seemed to be accepted by their male colleagues as equals.

In 1919, Hamilton was offered a position in industrial medicine at Harvard Medical School. Hamilton was the first woman on the Harvard faculty, and all her students were men, since the university still did not admit women. The faculty position came with three stipulations: she could not attend the Faculty Club; she could not get football tickets; and she could not march in the commencement procession. Hamilton had a stipulation of her own: to teach only one semester a year so she could continue her investigations and return to Hull-House for part of each year. Hamilton was never promoted at Harvard and during her teaching career held only a succession of three-year appointments. She remained an assistant professor until forced into mandatory retirement at the age of 65, when she moved with her sister Margaret to Hadlyme, Connecticut.

Throughout her life, Alice Hamilton was interested in social issues, demonstrated by her decision to live at Hull-House. Hamilton, a pacifist, toured Belgium during the First World War and northeastern France and famine-struck Germany in 1919. The desolate graveyards and ruined houses destroyed by German artillery affected Hamilton deeply: “It is like killing kittens with machine guns, they are so small and helpless.” But twenty years later, with Nazi troops on the move, Hamilton confessed, “my clean cut principles no longer seemed to apply.” She defended her changing views:

“It is no defense of war as a means of settling disputes to say that when once war has been started by greed for power and helped on by blindness and selfishness we cannot save the world by saving our selves, we must get down into the arena and throw our strength on the side we think the right one.”

In her long retirement, when she was in her eighties and nineties, Hamilton took an active role in campaigning against McCarthyism and what she considered the excesses of American anti-communism. In 1963, when she was ninety-four, she signed an open letter to President Kennedy asking for early withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.

Alice Hamilton celebrated her 100th birthday in 1969, and the many plaudits included a telegram from President Nixon praising her successes in industrial medicine. Hamilton died on September 22, 1970, at the age of 101. Three months later, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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Harvard’s first lady

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HARVARD EDUCATION AND RESEARCH CENTER FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

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Dr. Alice Hamilton saved countless workers’ lives as a pioneer in industrial health and safety

DR. ALICE HAMILTON: BREAKING BARRIERS IN WORKPLACE SAFETY

While studying for an American history test, we stumbled upon a paragraph about Alice Hamilton and her workplace reform efforts in our history textbook. We did more initial research and agreed that Alice Hamilton fit the National History Day (NHD) competition’s 2020 theme of “Breaking Barriers” while also being an excellent example of an unsung hero. Though she is not a household name in America today, Alice Hamilton broke barriers by becoming the nation’s first leading expert in the field of occupational health and the first female faculty member of Harvard University. Ultimately, Hamilton’s barrier-breaking work prompted vital safety laws for workers throughout the nation.

We began our research by reading books and detailed online articles about Hamilton.  Barbara Sicherman’s Alice Hamilton: A Life in Letters was a useful secondary source which compiled letters written by Hamilton, providing us with many powerful quotes and a firsthand account of her life. We also read Hamilton’s autobiography, Exploring The Dangerous Trades, an important primary source explaining many of her industrial investigations and struggles she faced as a female investigator. Additionally, we interviewed two authors of The Education of Alice Hamilton:  Matthew Ringenberg (via email) and Dr. Joseph Brain (via Zoom), who also mailed us a copy of his book. Dr. Brain was incredibly helpful, discussing barriers with us and explaining Hamilton’s connection to federal legislation. We also contacted a librarian from the Harvard archives to gain access to Hamilton’s papers and photographs. We used NoodleTools to organize our annotated bibliography.

We chose to present our work as a website because we have previously created two historical websites together and we enjoy the variety of elements that can be included. The platform Weebly allowed us to virtually collaborate, which was essential during the pandemic when we could not meet. We incorporated text blocks, quotes, videos, images, and audio clips to establish a balance between our words, the voice of Hamilton herself, and the voices of other historians to provide a complete analysis of Hamilton’s life and emphasize the barriers she broke.

Dr. Alice Hamilton is a clear example of an unsung hero who broke barriers because she pioneered the field of industrial toxicology in America, quickly becoming the nation’s leading expert in workplace safety. She broke a communication barrier between employers and workers, giving employers necessary information to protect workers and giving workers the ability to demand compensation and better conditions. Hamilton made incredible strides to break the gender barrier faced by working women in the early 20th century by becoming Harvard’s first female faculty member, twenty-six years before female students could even attend. Hamilton’s work resulted in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in 1970, a monumental act which created safer working conditions for Americans. By conducting investigations into workplace safety on both the state and national level, Hamilton made occupational health a national priority, guaranteeing future workers protection against workplace hazards. As Hamilton herself said, “the satisfaction is that things are better now, and I had some part in it.”

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Alice Hamilton Birthday Commemoration Address 1994 by Dr. Jacqueline Corn at US DOL

This address was the keynote of the 125th birthday commemoration by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Women’s Bureau, both agencies of the US Department of Labor. Author Jacqueline Corn, Ph.D., spoke about Dr. Hamilton’s work in both occupational health and the protection of working women. Dr. Corn, a leading researcher in industrial and environmental health and safety history, is an Associate Professor, The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Alice Hamilton, M.D., was the first American physician to devote her life to the practice of industrial medicine.

Born into a prominent family of Fort Wayne, Indiana, she graduated from medical school at the University of Michigan in 1893. She later moved into Jane Addams’ Hull House. Seeing the problems of poor working class families at close range, her compassion and professional interest were inexorably drawn to the many victims of work-related diseases and injuries. She pioneered occupational epidemiology and industrial hygiene in the United States beginning with investigations of lead poisoning among enamellers of bathtubs.

Her findings were so scientifically persuasive, that they caused sweeping reforms, both voluntary and regulatory, to reduce occupational exposure to lead. In 1919, Dr. Hamilton was appointed assistant professor of industrial medicine at Harvard Medical School, becoming the first woman on the faculty of Harvard University. A statue of Alice Hamilton sits in Headwaters Park near downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=16956

For more on Dr. Hamilton’s life and work, see the NIOSH website at

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/awards/hamilton/hamhist.html

Her autobiography, Exploring The Dangerous Trades was published in 1943 and is available for reading and downloading from the Internet Archive at

The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, established by Congress in 1920, is the only federal agency mandated to represent the needs of wage-earning women in the public policy process. For more on the past and current work of this valuable part of the US Department of Labor, visit their website at

https://web.archive.org/web/20151213012339/http://www.dol.gov:80/wb/welcome.html

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Interview with Dr. Joseph Brain about Alice Hamilton

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Dr. Alice Hamilton saved people from mercury once before.

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The Mad Hatters of Danbury, Conn.

The 19th-century hat factories of Danbury, Conn., made physical wrecks of thousands of workers. They turned them into mad hatters with symptoms known as the Danbury shakes.

A Danbury hatter binding a hat.

Hat makers used mercuric nitrate to make hats. Many developed mercury poisoning, manifested as drooling, pathological shyness, irritability and tremor. Mercury poisoning looked a lot like drunkenness, a handy misconception for employers to exploit.

HAT HISTORY

Danbury’s hat-making history goes back to the late 18th century. According to local legend, a man named Zadoc Benedict plugged a hole in his shoe with fur. He found sweat and friction turned it into felt.

Benedict began making felted fur hats on his bedpost and eventually opened a hat shop on Main Street. Others followed, setting up small hat shops in Danbury. By 1800, Danbury made more hats than any other U.S. city.

By the 1880s, industrialization and consumer demand fueled the growth of Danbury’s hat factories, which produced 5 million hats a year. People called Danbury ‘Hat City’ and  formed baseball teams called the Danbury Hatters. A lighted sign proclaimed ‘Danbury Crowns Them All,’ and the city put a derby hat on its seal.

DANBURY MAD HATTERS

Working in the factories was awful. By the outbreak of the Civil War, doctors knew the symptoms of mercury poisoning. But no one did anything about it for almost a century.

To make hats, workers matted together rabbit or beaver skins and smoothed them with an orange solution containing mercuric nitrate. Hatters then shaped the resulting felt into large cones, shrank them in boiling water and then dried them.

In 1851, the workers formed the hatter’s union. That year they reported on working conditions in an effort to improve them. One worker said:

So much steam, you didn’t only want to wear a rubber apron in front of you, but also over your head; there wasn’t any ceiling; the steam rising to the rafters, condensed and came down like rain.

According to the report, “Unknown to the workers it was a rain of death from the fumes of nitrate of mercury.”

Another worker said hatters hid the Danbury shakes:

I suspect I had it too, but I wouldn’t go to the doctor. If a worker claimed compensation, he got on the blacklist of the manufacturers — he couldn’t get another job unless he’d sign a waiver against future claims.

Danbury hatters sizing a hat

DIAGNOSIS

The first clinical description of the problem was published in 1860. However, the U.S. Public Health Service didn’t study it until 1937 after prodding by the hatters’ union.

British Journal of Industrial Medicine article described the mad hatters’ symptoms in 1946:

The man affected is easily upset and embarrassed, loses all joy in life and lives in constant fear of being dismissed from his job. He has a sense of timidity and may lose self control before visitors. Thus, if one stops to watch such a man in a factory, he will sometimes throw down his tools and turn in anger on the intruder, saying he cannot work if watched. Occasionally a man is obliged to give up work because he can no longer take orders without losing his temper or, if he is a foreman, because he has no patience with men under him. Drowsiness, depression, loss of memory and insomnia may occur, but hallucinations, delusions and mania are rare.

The most characteristic symptom, though it is seldom the first to appear, is mercurial tremor…It may be interrupted every few minutes by coarse jerky movements. It usually begins in the fingers, but the eyelids, lips and tongue are affected early. As it progresses it passes to the arms and legs, so that it becomes very difficult for a man to walk about the workshop, and he may have to be guided to his bench.

View of a Danbury hat factory, 1911

BETTER A MAD HATTER…

Hatters in the 19th century faced a more lethal health problem than mercury poisoning: tuberculosis, then the leading cause of death in the United States.  In the close, steamy hat workrooms, hatters easily caught the disease.

The hatter’s union fought for safer working conditions. Employers dismissed their complaints. They said the mad hatter symptoms — tremors and hallucinations — resulted from drunkenness and tobacco use.

After the turn of the century, court decisions that favored anti-union employers weakened the hatters’ unions.

In 1901 the United Hatters of North America went on strike against the Danbury hatmaking factory of D.E. Loewe & Co. 

Dietrich Loewe brought in scabs, and the unions successfully boycotted his hats, damaging him financially. Loewe sued the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the officers of the local hatters’ union and 250 rank-and-file members of the hatters’ union who lived in Danbury and Norwalk.

The case twice went all the way to the Supreme Court, which held the union unlawfully restrained trade. Loewe was awarded about $250,000, and the individual defendants had to pay his judgment. The company attached their paychecks and they faced losing their homes.

The AFL held a Hatter’s Day, in which union members throughout the United States donated an hour’s pay to the hatters. The judgment was paid and the workers kept their houses.

ALICE HAMILTON

During the 15 years the Danbury Hatters case moved through the courts, a socially prominent doctor who lived in Hadlyme, Conn., took up the cause of workers who got sick on the job.

Alice Hamilton

Alice Hamilton with her sister Edith Hamilton, the classicist, had attended Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., about 50 miles from Danbury. She earned a medical degree and joined Jane Addams’ settlement house, Hull House, in Chicago. Living with poor workers, she got interested in the injuries and illnesses they suffered on the job.

Alice Hamilton pioneered the fields of industrial hygiene and occupational epidemiology. In 1919 Harvard Medical School appointed her an assistant professor in the new Department of Industrial Medicine– its first woman faculty member. Hamilton investigated mercury poisoning and in 1922 produced a report.

Three years later, the Workers’ Health Bureau of America and the United Hatters of America promoted Hamilton’s findings. They reported on the Danbury shakes:

…[of] 100 union hatters of Danbury, Conn., examined by experts, 43 had mercury poisoning… Boys 20 and 21 years old are already so badly poisoned that their hands shake continually, while many of the men who have served longer at the trade cannot even feed themselves.

The report also concluded the symptoms did not result from alcohol and tobacco use, as employers had claimed.

DEC. 1, 1941

Finally, on Dec. 1, 1941, Connecticut banned the use of mercury in hat making.

Hat makers instead used hydrochloric acid, a safe alternative. For years thereafter, they celebrated the December 1 anniversary.

But it was almost too late. The hat industry had declined, and by 1923 only six hat factories remained in Danbury. The city’s last hat factory, Stetson, closed its doors in 1965.

Though the hat industry vanished from Danbury, the mercury hasn’t.

The Environmental Protection Agency declared the land on which the hat factories stood a Superfund clean-up site. The sediment of the Still and Housatonic Rivers contains traces of mercury to this day.

In 2003, the state of Connecticut planted on a hat factory site Eastern cottonwood trees  genetically engineered to absorb mercury. The trees, however, emit mercury into the air.

Read More HERE

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Perhaps In death, Dr. Alice Hamilton can prevent the pharmaceutical industry from further injecting mercury and other toxins into our babies and preventing cases like my son’s.

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Click a link below to get your copy of The Nuremberg Code.

http://www.environmentandhumanrights.org/resources/Nuremberg%20Code.pdf

2-2-the-nuremberg-code-1Download

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Nuremberg Code Video link

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If you download The Nuremberg Code, understand you have to do something with it.  Please e-mail these folks below:

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It’s actually time to stop talking and stop watching videos and signing useless petitions and do this:

It’s time to get The Hague involved for violations of The Nuremberg Code and Crimes Against Humanity.  Contact them here:

Submit communications to the
Office of the Prosecutor

Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor

Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands
otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int
Fax +31 70 515 8555

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Trying individuals for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression

Contact us

Communications and claims under art.15 of the Rome Statute may be addressed to:

Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands

or sent by email to otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

or sent by facsimile to +31 70 515 8555.

The more of us who do this; the more they can’t ignore us.

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