Lead is not the cause of the death of Franklin expedition

10.04.2013

The participants of the ill-fated campaign for life poisoned by lead, but hardly was he killed them.



The skulls of several members of the expedition, discovered in 1945 by King William Island (photo National Archives of Canada / Canadian Press).

The sad memory of the Franklin expedition became more mysterious. Chemists at the University of Western Ontario (Canada) with a set of modern equipment found that banks in which food is stored, not the cause of lead poisoning crew of two vessels, went to the middle of the XIX century to explore the Canadian Arctic.

"We may never know what happened to Franklin and his team — pessimistic study's lead author, Ron Martin. — But one thing is certain: a popular hypothesis is that lead is found in the bones of the dead, came back from cans that has not been confirmed. "

British expedition under the command of John Franklin hit the road in 1845 and disappeared. The remains of some of the 129-minute participants able to find (with traces of cannibalism), but a hundred and fifty years of searching ships "Erebus" and "Terror" nothing. What happened to them? How did they die? At this point there is only speculation.

Three graves of the crew found on Beechey Island, were exhumed in 1984. The analysis showed that the immediate cause of death was pneumonia and tuberculosis. At the same time, the bones of men have found abnormally high levels of lead, which is likely to be very damaging to the body and the mind is clouded. It has been suggested that the lead was in the skeleton of the food, and the food — from the solder, which was sealed cans.

Mr. Martin and his colleagues re-analyzed the bone with the help of methods have appeared in the past since the time of research. Indeed, the lead was too much and he also was widespread, and therefore it is unlikely that he could have accumulated in such quantities in a few months of travel. In addition, not found places particularly high concentrations of lead, what would be expected if the toxin was used shortly before death. It is logical to conclude that lead poisoning took place before the start of the expedition, and, most of all, he was absorbed sailors throughout life.

Thus, the number of possible sources of lead are eliminated and lead pipes ship pipelines.

Lead — poison for the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, reproductive and nervous systems. Among the symptoms of lead poisoning — confusion, which is very tempting to explain some of the decisions made by Franklin and his crew after their ships stuck in the ice — for example, to arrange a trek across the tundra, dragging the boat, loaded not the most necessary things like silverware.

Group Mr. Martin concludes that if Franklin and his team really poisoned with lead, they would feel unwell long before the expedition.

The study is published in the journal Applied Physics A.

Prepared according to CBC News.

See also: The South Pole — Antarctica, Recent archaeological finds.

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