This historical image, which was provided by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), was shot inside a Connecticut hat manufacturing plant. The photograph depicted a number of hat manufacturers on a hat-assembly line, one of whom off to the right, was in the process of sizing a felt hat by implementing steam, thereby, softening the fur, making it more malleable to the sizing process. Working with the 'carroted' animal fir, opened the workers up to the possibility of succumbing to mercury poisoning, a heavy metal used in the processing of the raw fir. The steam, liberated from the kneading and sizing processes, facilitated the airborne dissemination of the mercury nitrate, which could easily be inhaled without proper ventilation, and a protective breathing mask, with which these men were not equipped.
CDC/ Barbara Jenkins, NIOSH; USPHS
December 4, 2012