The Toxicology of Soot

  • E. Boyland
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 7)


In 1775 the London surgeon Sir Percival Pott published a monograph in which he described cancer of the scrotum as an occupational disease of chimney sweeps. In England chimneys which contained soot from burning of coal were cleaned by small boys who were made to climb the flues. In doing this the soot fell from the chimney and the boys became covered in soot. There were no facilities for washing or changing of clothes. Pott said that the disease was due to deposition of soot in the skin of the scrotum. This was probably the first definition of an external cause of cancer.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Carbon Black Polycyclic Hydrocarbon Threshold Limit Value Cyclic Hydrocarbon 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Boyland
    • 1
  1. 1.TUC Centenary Institute of Occupational HealthLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonEngland

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