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tv   Reel America Stop Silicosis - 1938  CSPAN  February 6, 2021 11:42pm-12:01am EST

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you don't get no effect, you can keep going further, but at least go through the system first and make them aware. >> my advice is that you can get another job, but you can't get another life. >> don't be chicken. do it! don't say it, just do it. >> somebody has to have a backbone in the organization that they are in. the company. and try to organize. because your union definitely helps you. >> if you have any problems, call osha for an inspection. these agencies are there for your protection. the people ought to use them. you got the best qualified people in the country working. >> today paul has cancer. how many of us tomorrow will have cancer, because we let something die away? >> every chemical worker has a right to question what he is working with and not to be afraid of his job because there
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is no one who is going to look out for you but you. ♪ announcer: next on reel america, from 1938, "stop silicosis." a short labor department film about my disease caused by inhaling silica dust. but first we talked of mark catlin has a youtube channel devoted to films that cover workplace safety. >> the film was produced by the department of labor well before osha was in existence. 1938, during the height of the depression, there had been a national problem with worker exposure to silica dust, which is from cement and granite and other industrial uses. so there was sort of a national public attention to this issue of silicosis and silica dust.
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and the department of labor had held a big national conference with employers and public folks and unions. and this film came out of that. the film is highlighting the hazards of silica dust and what can be done to control it. for me as an occupational health professional, when i saw this film in the late 19 1990's was the hazards of silica dust, which we were worried about in the 1990's, we are still worried about today. the hazards or pretty well known in the 1930's, and pretty well identified and documented. but what is really fascinating is the control measures of how to stop exposing workers to dust, what employers could do to control dust with ventilation and other things, those are also -- were also incredibly well known in the 1930's and are shown in this film, yet many employers were still not using those methods in the 1990's.
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even today, there are employers still not using those methods. so we had knowledge on both the hazards and the controls 75 years ago, yet we are still having this trouble, so it is clearly -- a lot of health and safety is clearly not an issue of knowledge and the science, it is really a matter of public policy and how we get to controls. ♪ >> 1935, a wave of fear was sweeping the country.
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silicosis was taking its toll on the lives of american workers. the cause of the disease -- dust. the result of the disease -- disablement, poverty and death. pure for the disease -- none. workers exposed were fearful for their health. 1936, amid these alarming events, the secretary of labor called a national conference to study the disease. a committee of 60 experts was appointed, and a year later reported to the secretary of labor. let's hear from ms. perkins herself. ms. perkins: the committee has just made its report of findings and recommendations, and i consider it to be my duty to make this report available to the working people of the united states and to their employers by every available method. this report shows how silicosis occurs, where it occurs, in what the disease is, and it makes recommendations for its practical control.
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above all, the report emphasizes that these control measures if conscientiously adopted and applied, that silicosis can be prevented. ♪ >> this is the story of silicosis, a disease of the lungs caused by breathing particles of dust containing silica, granite dust. small particles consist of silica. the smaller the particles, the greater the danger to human lungs. over 100,000 openings in a square inch. notice how ready the dust passes through -- how readily the dust passes through. yet this screen is so fine that it holds water. ♪ every drop forward into the sieve is poured back into the glass. here, dust particles taken from the air are analyzed to
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determine workers' exposure. granite dust, particles of which can enter lungs and cause trouble. this cross-section shows the nose and throat passages through which dust is inhaled. the fine dust particles enter in the lungs and settle into the terminal air spaces. physical and chemical changes up our. scar tissue forms. they grow larger as time goes on. the tissue is fibrous, tough and it elastic, in the lungs cannot adequately perform their task of caring air. as a result, the worker becomes shorter breath, he can no longer do his job. this magnified section shows alveoli, small air spaces in the lungs. they supply oxygen to the blood. silica clouds these spaces and then discard tissue forms. this is the way a lung appears to the x-ray. the black areas are scar tissue. among many industrial operations
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where silica has exists is the quarrying of granite, sandstone and other rock. this 35 ton block of stone has been hewn out of the quarry by drills. those men are drilling in granite. the cloud rising contains large qualities of silica. the trade calls these tools jackhammers, but workers often called them widow makers. these men are exposed with serious silica hazards. imagined breeding quality of desk -- quantities of dust like this day after day, year after year. the stone is taken to the planned for servicing and finishing. the granite servicing machine produces quantities of dust. the worker must then close the machine in order to operate it. he is breathing dangerous dust. when crushed stone is passed over a vibrating screen, more dust is dispersed into the air.
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workers nearby cannot escape this dust. ♪ finely pulverized granite is put into the bed to be used as asphalt filler or for other uses. this machine is being operated in such a way that the workmen must breathe in clouds of harmful dust and this man is utterly unprotected. the foundry shakeout wherein -- are remote from the most is also -- operation. these men are working with our protection. they are potential silicosis victims. here is the typical american workman, one of the millions who are dangerously exposed to silica dust. his name is john. once a master motor, he is still
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working in this foundry after years of exposure to silica. once strong and healthy, john is now weak and emaciated, short of breath. he cannot do even this work properly. ♪ the foreman tells him he is sick, incompetent, can no longer do a days work and that he must let him go. ♪ [somber music] he has john his last time slip. as a result of his disability, john, let thousands of others, is being fired. -- like thousands of others, is being fired. he is paid off, broke in health
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and in spirit. out of a job, he must seek work elsewhere. he is more fortunate than many other silicosis victims. was able to find work in a tombstone shed, work which was not too heavy and where he could earn a little money to help support his family. but he is still exposed to the enemy. across john's mind flashes his fate. how soon will it become a stark reality? how soon will he join the thousands of others have succumbed to silica dust? [rumble of machinery] these thousands should not have died in vain if we used the knowledge we gain to save others from the same fate. we know of engineering methods which will control the dust. this worker has been employed here for several years. he is healthy, robust. he can put in a full day of hard work.
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notice his deep chest and good general appearance, despite years of his trade. he periodically goes to a skilled doctor with whom thus in whom he has complete confidence. that dr. gives him a thorough physical examination -- the doctor gives him a thorough physical examination. it includes an extra film. though a final diagnosis of silicosis cannot be made that x-ray alone, an accurate diagnosis is impossible without it. his healthy chest looks like this to the x-ray. there are no silica spots. he has been protected from dust. notice the difference between the normal x-ray on the left and the silicon it belongs on the -- silicotic lungs on the right. sandblasting in foundries is one of the dusty as of operations. these workers wear helmets like deep-sea divers into which
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clean, filtered air is fed. they work in a tightly closed room so that other workers in the foundry are not exposed. in many cases, silicosis control is as simple as this, products sprinkled on floors. or wet sweeping keeps the dust down. in other words, good housekeeping. the vibrating screens. see how dusty it is. workers would be exposed were it not for the exhaust system, which when turned on, blows the dust off, carrying it through a system of hikes and dust collectors. this is the dusty bagging operation we saw earlier. however, with the exhaust system in operation, there is no dust in the air. the worker a respirator for protection. ♪
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in this close up, the dust is being carried at high-speed into the suction system where it is collected. here is the way that this machine can be controlled by using a suction device. notice how the dust is drawn into the hood and kept away from the workman's nose and mouth. in the granite quarrying industry, this is one of the dusty as operations, and can be made non-dusty and safe. one method is to force water through pipes at the point of operation. water flows through this simple device around the drill and prevents the dust from flying into the air. there is another method used in the quarry. water is fed through a hollow drill into the cutting edge of the tomb. notice the complete absence of dust. had our john worked in these
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conditions, he would never have developed silicosis and he could have continued to work in that trade in safety and comfort. we have seen but a few of the practical, simple and inexpensive control measures in actual use. however, they must be adopted widely by employers, used more consistently by workers, and required more generally by state and other agencies. silicosis can be entirely prevented. the division of labor standards will give you full information. "stop silicosis!" ♪ >> you're watching american history weekend on c-span3. explore our nation's past. american history tv on c-span3. created by america's television companies, and today we are brought to you by these television companies will
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provide american history tv to viewers as a public service. ♪ >> american history tv is on social media. follow us @c-span history. >> american history tv on c-span3. exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. sunday at 1:05 p.m. eastern, an author on his book "the people's revolt: texas populists and the roots of american liberalism," about the origins of the people's party their political goals, and populism's legacy today. at 4:00 p.m. eastern, we mark the 50th anniversary of the occupational safety and health administration with three osha films released in 1980 by the carter administration and later recalled by the reagan administration in 1981.
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at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "the presidency," a discussion on past presidential transitions and inaugurations with a white house historical association historian, highlighting speeches from thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln, franklin d. roosevelt, john f. kennedy, and ronald reagan. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span three. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] ♪ >> in washington, d.c., with less connecticut violence erupted in the halls of congress. three men and a woman believed to be members of the puerto rican nationalist again that in november 1950 at attempt at the assumpsit nation of president truman -- assassination of president truman, opened fire in the gallery of the house of representatives. ♪ five congressmen were hit.
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from mayor, clifford davis of tennessee, congressman from alabama, congressman from maryland, and of michigan, who was seriously injured. observers noted the attack came as the inter-american congress opened in venezuela, and its adjusted the motive may have been to arouse anti-u.s. feeling in latin america or an act of apparently blind violence carefully calculated to inflame america's relations with her neighbors. estimates of the numbers of shots fired ranged from 15-30. and each bullet hole found is a reminder to those who were present as they entered their guns withheld at police headquarters, a widespread search was launched for others who shared in the flock. ♪
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rafael miranda. andre cordero, the evil distinction of having perpetrated a criminal outrage almost unique in america's history. ♪ wanton violence that shocked and stirred the nation. >> on lectures and history. military historian victor david hanson teaches a class at a -- on leadership during world war ii. he focuses on the relationship between president franklin roosevelt and british prime minister winston churchill, and how american and british civilian officials worked together to defeat nazi germany.


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