Thursday, February 21, 2008

More myths. "Alkali dust made most bleed from the lungs."

Is there any factual basis for the claim about the Chinese workers who built the Central Pacific Railroad that: "Once the men reached the desert ... Alkali dust made most bleed from the lungs"?

A number of the details of the post that makes this claim are well known to be incorrect: There was no significant difference in pay of Chinese vs. other workers (Chinese workers were paid a dollar more), as the railroad did not provide Chinese food to those workers – they prepared it themselves. The myth about Chinese being "suspended in baskets" at Cape Horn is a fabrication. No dynamite was used – only black powder and nitroglycerine manufacured on site at the summit tunnel, as nitroglycerine was too dangerous to transport.