MR. JONATHAN HUTCHINSON, the eminent consultant, has just put forward a statement of the utmost importance with respect to the probable existence of a direct connection between the consumption of arseniccontaminated food and the occurrence of cancer. He points out that certain modern improvements in processes of production have led to the contamination of various foodproducts with small amounts of arsenic, and observes that if, as seems proved, the continuous use of arsenic in small medicinal doses can predispose the skin to multiple cancer there seems no reason for doubting that it may do the same for the other tissues, and for the mucous membranes and the viscera, while there must necessarily also be the constitutional tendency, the appropriate age, and, in some cases, the local irritation. Mr. HUTCHINSON refers to the recent successful tracing of the Manchester outbreak of peripheral neuritis to the use of arseniccontaminated beer as an example of what may be caused by the habitual ingestion of minute doses of arsenic. It is a remarkable fact that the increase in the occurrence of cancer may be looked upon as almost synchronising with the increasingly extensive adoption of those improved modern methods of manufacture, not only of beer but of other foodproducts, which open the door to arseniccontamination together with the great increase in the use of arsenic in medical prescriptions.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 1902