The Dangerousness of Mercury Vapor (1926)

Stanford University hosts a translated version of an interesting paper from 1926 titled, “The Dangerousness of Mercury Vapor.” Originally penned by Alfred Stock in Berlin, the paper natively titled “Die Gefaehrlichkeit des Quecksilberdampfes” outlines his personal experience suffering from mercury poisoning.

From the paper:

While my physical ability, e.g. mountain climbing, did not seem to have been weakened, the ability to work mentally suffered a little, although not in as devastating a fashion as had been the case with memory. Added to that were depression, and a vexing inner restlessness, which later also caused restless sleep. By nature companionable and loving life, I withdrew moodily into myself, shied away from the public, stayed away from people and social activity, and unlearned the joy in art and nature. Humor became rusty. Obstacles, which formerly I would have overlooked smilingly (and am overlooking again today), seemed insurmountable. Scientific work caused great effort. I forced myself to go to the laboratory without being able to get anything useful accomplished in spite of all efforts. Thought came laboriously and pedantically. I had to deny myself working on solutions to questions beyond the nearest tasks at hand. The lecture that used to be a pleasure became a torture. The preparations for a lecture, the writing of a dissertation, or merely a simple letter caused unending effort in styling the material and wrestling with the language. Not seldom did it happen that I misspelled words or left out letters. It was not nice to be aware of these shortcomings, not to know their cause, not to know a way to their elimination, and to have to fear further deterioration.

It’s a long read, but worth the time.

Labels: mercury