Rat hair, beaver anal secretions, and other surprising things in your food

Popular Science | 3/11/2019 | Staff
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Lewis Carroll’s fictional Mad Hatter character may have been inspired by an occupational disease of milliners (hat makers) caused by exposure to mercury and its salts during a process called “carroting”.

This was commonly used on the pelts of small animals, such as beavers, to make the fur softer. Beavers clearly didn’t have a good time in the 19th century, but the effects of mercury on milliners was equally devastating, with up to half the working population afflicted by erethism, or “mad hatters disease”, the signs and symptoms of which included irritability and excitability, muscle spasms, loss of teeth, nails, and hair, lack of coordination, confusion, memory loss, and death.

While...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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