Ever since the introduction of the so-called smokeless powders, injurious effects have been observed from their use. In small quantities, the gases resulting from the explosion of powders of this class, cause varying degrees of disturbance in the cardiac and vasomotor apparatus. "Dynamite headache" has become a common phrase among those who work in the manufacture of the powders; among miners, who use them for blasting purposes, and among sportsmen, soldiers and rifle shots, who use them in firearms. In larger quantities, these gases have produced profound intoxications, and have caused numerous fatalities. Haldane1 says: "In the gold mines in India and in the Transvaal, accidents involving the loss of as many as twenty men at a time have sometimes occurred in this way from dynamite catching fire underground, and serious injury to health may easily be caused by the fumes of imperfectly detonated high explosives where the ventilation is bad." Key2 says:
KIEFFER MCF. SMOKELESS POWDERS.THE NATURE AND EFFECTS OF THE DELETERIOUS GASES GIVEN OFF IN THEIR EXPLOSION. JAMA. 1905;XLIV(17):1359–1365. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500440001001g
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