A re-analysis of the supposed role of lead poisoning in Sir John Franklin's last expedition, 1845–1848

  title={A re-analysis of the supposed role of lead poisoning in Sir John Franklin's last expedition, 1845–1848},
  author={Keith Millar and Adrian W. Bowman and William John Battersby},
  journal={Polar Record},
  pages={224 - 238}
ABSTRACT The ‘Franklin expedition’ of 1845 set out to establish a ‘northwest passage’ between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans but ended with the deaths of all 129 crewmen in the grimmest of circumstances. The hypothesis that lead poisoning may have contributed to the disaster is examined by re-analysis of the bone-lead content of seven skeletons in order to model statistically the likely variation in lead burden across the whole crew. Comparison of the estimated lead burdens with present-day… 

The health of nine Royal Naval Arctic crews, 1848 to 1854: implications for the lost Franklin Expedition

On the basis of the squadrons’ patterns of illness it was concluded that Franklin's crews would have suffered common respiratory and gastro-intestinal disorders, injuries and exposure and that deaths might have occurred from respiratory, cardiovascular and tubercular conditions.

Death in the Arctic – the tragic fate of members of the Franklin expedition (1845)

  • R. Byard
  • History
    Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology
  • 2020
In May 1845 HMS Terror and HMS Erebus left England to find the Northwest Passage linking the north Atlantic and Pacific Oceans but despite these modern additions neither the vessels nor any of the 129 crew members would ever return.

A Critical Assessment of the Oral Condition of the Crew of the Franklin Expedition + Supplementary Appendix 1 (See Article Tools)

Little is known about the fate of the crew of the Franklin expedition after they sailed from England in 1845. Scant physical evidence and limited Inuit testimony have fueled speculation that the crew

Skeletal Lead Burden of the British Royal Navy in Colonial Antigua

The data suggest that naval personnel, regardless of ancestry at English Harbour, had very similar experiences with regard to Pb exposure, and levels of Ba, Ca and rare earth elements support a largely biogenic origin of lead.

A Case Study: Was Private William Braine of the 1845 Franklin Expedition a Victim of Tuberculosis? + Supplementary Appendix 1 (See Article Tools)

A bone sample from one of the Franklin expedition crewmen, Private William Braine, was analyzed for ancient DNA belonging to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and results show that it is unlikely that tuberculosis contributed directly to his death.

Finding the dead: bodies, bones and burials from the 1845 Franklin northwest passage Expedition

Abstract On 22 April 1848, after three years in the Arctic, and 19 months spent ice-bound in northern Victoria Strait, the 105 surviving officers and crew of the Franklin Northwest Passage expedition

Use your best endeavours to discover a sheltered and safe harbour

Abstract On 24 May 1847, Sir John Franklin’s third expedition reported “All well”, but less than a year later, on 22 April 1848, the 129 sailors who had set out from Britain on Erebus and Terror had



Scurvy as a factor in the loss of the 1845 Franklin expedition to the Arctic: a reconsideration

In 1845, an expedition, commanded by Sir John Franklin, set out to discover the Northwest Passage. The ships entered the Canadian Arctic, and from September 1846 were beset in ice off King William

The last Franklin expedition: report of a postmortem examination of a crew member.

T he examination of human remains from the last Franklin expedition, collected from various sites in the Canadian Arctic archipelago, has been an active research project at the University of Alberta,

Lead and the Last Franklin Expedition

It is concluded that the contribution of canned foods to body loads of lead or to any incipient ill health in Franklin's crews was trivial.

Arctic paleoradiology: portable radiographic examination of two frozen sailors from the Franklin expedition (1845-1848).

This investigation likely represents the first use of portable radiographic equipment under Arctic field conditions and Pathologic findings are discussed, but of parallel interest are the technical aspects of obtaining radiographs of diagnostic quality under adverse climatic and topographic conditions.

The Final Days of the Franklin Expedition: New Skeletal Evidence

Mass spectroscopy and x-ray fluorescence revealed elevated lead levels consistent with previous measurements, further supporting the conclusion that lead poisoning contributed to the demise of the expedition.

Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed in Members of the Franklin Expedition

Since 1982, signs of a high exposure to lead have been identified in the human remains of members of John Franklin’ s expedition to the Arctic, 1845–8. Tinned food has been suggested as the source of

Lead poisoning in a historical perspective.

  • S. Hernberg
  • Medicine
    American journal of industrial medicine
  • 2000
Today's research focuses on the effects of low exposure, often with the aim of defining noneffect levels for different types of effects.

Lead Levels in Human Tissues from the Franklin Forensic Project

Abstract Elemental analyses of bone samples from members of the 1845 Franklin Arctic Expedition revealed the presence of high levels of lead. Initial studies using inductively coupled plasma atomic