Following Hydrogen Cyanide in the Valencian Country (1907-1933): Risk, Accidents and Standards in Fumigation

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Pests had represented a major problem in agriculture for centuries, but the huge changes in the food chain around the late nineteenth century intensified their effects in a totally unprecedented way and many new chemical substances were introduced in the attempt to control them. In this paper I will focus on the implementation of hydrogen cyanide, a highly toxic pesticide which has not received particular consideration from researchers to date.

I shall analyse the introduction of this pesticide in the Valencian Country and focus on the attention given to the safety of workers and consumers. I aim to examine the role of the poison in its different uses and analyse the impact of each of them on safety regulations. Risks, accidents, and standards will be the main analytical categories I will use in my exploration of hydrogen cyanide and the safety regulations implemented in each context.

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