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Description and uses.—Gallic acid is found in many plants and is made commercially directly from nutgalls by boiling tannic-acid solutions with sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, the yield being only about two-thirds of the tannic acid used. This acid appears in commerce in two grades-a refined grade conforming to the specifications of the United States Pharmacopoeia and a less pure or technical grade. It is an intermediate for making several dyes, including gallocyanine blue, which has been much used for dyeing wool for use in Navy uniforms; also in making ink, and in medicine, and as a raw material for the manufacture of pyrogallic acid. The output has increased greatly during the war, principally on account of the enlarged demand for dye making. It is made by four firms in the United States. Imports before the war (chiefly from Germany) averaged about 50,000 pounds per year.
Description.—Lactic acid, as its name implies, is the acid formed in milk when it becomes sour, although commercial supplies are obtained from other sources. Pure lactic acid is a colorless, odorless liquid which mixes with water in all proportions. It attacks iron and must therefore be shipped in wood or glass containers. It comes on the market in three grades of purity and several strengths. Technical lactic acid contains impurities which give it a dark color and unpleasant odor. It is customarily sold either in 22, 44, or 66 per cent strengths, and is graded according to whether it is "light" or "dark" in color. Edible lactic acid is free from impurities which give an objectionable odor and flavor, is nearly colorless, and is usually about 50 per cent in strength. Lactic acid (United States Pharmacopoeia) is a refined article of not less than 85 per cent of acid and only traces of impurities.
Uses.-Technical lactic acid is used principally in tanning for the "bating" and "plumping" of hides and also in dyeing and printing of textiles. Edible lactic acid has been on the market in considerable amounts only since the summer of 1918. A large market will probably develop for this product in beverages, especially in nonalcoholic imitation beers and soft drinks. Another use which may develop is that of bread making. It has been found that the addition of this acid to dough improves the quality of bread. Lactic acid and several of its salts are used in medicine.
Production. The acid is made from corn or other starchy material or from vegetable-ivory scrap from button factories. The raw material is heated with sulphuric acid to make glucose, fermented to lactic acid, then concentrated and refined. The industry began to develop in the United States in 1881 and has steadily grown. There were five manufacturers in 1917, with an output of over 1,900,000 pounds, calculated as 100 per cent lactic acid. The output of American factories increased rapidly during the war. In 1896 manufacture was begun in Germany, where the industry grew more rapidly than in the United States. No figures on production in Germany are available, but German exports before the war exceeded the total American production. The German acid is made from potatoes.
Imports.-The largest during any one year (1912) were 335,335 pounds, valued at $25,267, yielding a revenue of $9,732.
Exports.-Export statistics give no data, but it is known that at least one American firm exported lactic acid before the war, and that exports have increased substantially.
Description and uses.-Oxalic acid is a white crystalline solid which occurs naturally in many plants, especially Oxalis acetosella (wood sorrel), but commercial supplies are obtained by chemical processes instead of extraction from natural sources. It has a great variety of uses, the largest, probably, in commercial laundries as an acid to rinse out the last traces of alkali or soap and to remove iron stains. It is also used in the dyeing and printing of textiles; for bleaching leather, cork, wood, straw, and shellac; and as an ingredient in metal polishes. It is used as a reagent in chemical laboratories. Some of its salts are used in medicine and in photography.
Production. Before the war there was only one producer in the United States who used a process dependent on heating sawdust with caustic potash, followed by elaborate chemical treatment. This firm had severe competition from German producers, who had developed a newer and apparently cheaper process by heating caustic soda with carbon monoxide under pressure, forming sodium formate, which on further heating yields sodium oxalate, and this in turn is converted into oxalic acid. During the war several firms in the United States have undertaken the manufacture by the new method, but are still in the infant-industry stage of development.
Imports.-Prewar imports of oxalic acid, chiefly from Germany, but partly from Norway and Great Britain, varied from about seven to eight million pounds per year, despite a duty of 2 cents per pound. It is estimated that the imports were several times greater than American production. Imports declined during the war, averaging less than 1,000,000 pounds per year.
Exports.-No statistics are available, but exports are believed to be negligible.
Description and uses.-Pyrogallic acid, or pyrogallol, is a white crystalline solid made by heating gallic acid. It is the oldest photographic developer and is probably used more than any other. Pyrogallic acid and several products made from it are used in medicine. Another use is the dyeing of fur and hair; also the manufacture of some dyes. It is an important reagent in the chemical laboratory as an absorbent for oxygen gas in gas analysis.
Production. It is made by three firms in the United States, whose output has shown a substantial increase during the war. Imports have been larger in proportion to American production than in the case of the closely allied substances, tannic acid and gallic acid.
Salicylic acid is no longer dutiable under paragraph 1 of the act of 1913, but is now dutiable under Title V of the act of September 8, 1916, which provides for chemicals of coal-tar origin.
TANNIC ACID AND TANNIN.
Description and uses.-The term "tannin" in scientific usage is a class name covering a large number of similar substances. The term as used in commerce and in the tariff means one member of this class, known to chemists as gallotannic acid. A highly purified grade conforming to the specifications of the United States Pharmacopoeia, is known as "tannic acid, U. S. P.," and a less pure grade as "technical tannic acid."
The technical grades of tannic acid and extracts of nutgalls are used as a mordant in the dyeing and printing of textiles, in the manufacture of color lakes, in ink making, and for the manufacture of gallic acid. Other materials are both cheaper and better for tanning leather. Tannic acid, U. S. P., is used for medicinal purposes and for the clarification of wines and fruit juices.
Production.-Tannic acid is made from nutgalls, obtained almost entirely from China, Japan, and Asia Minor. In 1914 the domestic production by five firms was 853,830 pounds, valued at $287,142. Foreign statistics are not available, but before the war Germany was the largest producer, German exports exceeding the total American production.
Imports under the tariff act of 1909, which imposed a duty of 35 cents per pound, were negligible, the maximum during any fiscal year being 8,071 pounds, valued at $3,864. The act of 1913, reducing the duty to 5 cents per pound, was followed by an increase in imports to 49,493 pounds, valued at $17,047, or about 6 per cent of the American production during 1914. Imports since 1915 have been negligible, probably due to the blockade of Germany.
Description and uses.-Tartaric acid is present in grapes and is obtained commercially from wine lees, argols, or crude tartar, byproducts of the wine and grape-juice industries. It is closely allied in origin, manufacture, and use to cream of tartar or potassium acid tartrate (par. 8). It is used in the manufacture of baking powder, in beverages, jellies and preserves, in pharmaceutical products, in the dyeing and printing of textiles, and in the manufacture of various salts of tartaric acid used in photography, medicine, silver plating, and chemical laboratories.
Domestic production of crude tartar materials is very small. Either the crude tartar materials or the refined tartaric acid and cream of tartar are imported to supply the demands.
Imports during 1913 were: Argols, crude tartar, and wine lees, 29,476,172 pounds, valued at $2,621,491, dutiable at 5 per cent, yielding a revenue of $131,074; tartaric acid, 78,942 pounds, valued at $15,747, yielding a revenue of $3,947; and cream of tartar, 66,718 pounds, valued at $11,797, dutiable at 5 cents per pound, yielding a revenue of $3,335. Under the tariff act of 1909 rates of duty on crude and refined tartar materials were so adjusted that imports were almost entirely of the crude material to be refined in the United States. The act of 1913 reduced the rate on tartaric acid to 3 cents and on cream of tartar to 2 cents, and was followed by a large increase in imports of the refined, although imports of crude materials continued to be many times greater.
Imports during 1915 were: Argols, crude tartar, or wine lees, 28,814,878 pounds, valued at $3,122,317, dutiable at 5 per cent, yielding a revenue of $156,115; tartaric acid, 820,105 pounds, valued at $273,880, dutiable at 3 cents per pound, yielding a revenue of $28,703; cream of tartar, 764,868 pounds, valued at $166,922, dutiable at 21 cents per pound, yielding a revenue of $19,121.
The crude tartar materials come chiefly from Italy and France, the refined tartar materials from France, Italy, and Germany.
Exports. Statistics on tartaric acid or cream of tartar are not available, but probably were not large. However, exports of baking powder containing these materials have been extensive.
ALL OTHER ACIDS AND ACID ANHYDRIDES.
Other acids and acid anhydrides, mentioned elsewhere, and therefore not dutiable under this provision, include the following: Paragraph 2, acetic anhydride; paragraph 18, glycerophosphoric acid; paragraph 387, acetic or pyroligneous, arsenic or arsenious, carbolic, chromic, fluoric, hydrofluoric, hydrochloric or muriatic, nitric, phosphoric, phthalic, prussic, silicic, sulphuric or oil of vitriol, and valerianic; all acids of coal-tar origin, Title V, act of September 8, 1916. There are many other acids which, if imported, would be dutiable under the provision for "all other acids and acid anhydrides not specially provided for in this section, 15 per centum ad valorem." The acids not specially provided for, but imported in the largest amounts, are oleic acid, stearic acid, and barbituric acid.
Oleic acid is made from vegetable oils, especially cottonseed oil. This is used in the textile industry in the dyeing and finishing of textiles, for the manufacture of soap, and in the manufacture of cosmetics, especially cold creams. Imports during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1914, amounted to 367,070 pounds, valued at $24,662. This is approximately 1 per cent of the production in the United States.
Stearic acid is made from beef tallow or other fats and is used chiefly in the manufacture of candles. Imports in the fiscal year 1914 were 100,107 pounds, less than 1 per cent of American production.
Barbituric acid is a synthetic product used in the manufacture of certain drugs. Imports during 1914, entirely from Germany, amounted to 39,924 pounds, valued at $2,837.
INTERPRETATION AND COMMENTS.
Citric acid and the closely allied products of citrate of lime and lemon oil present two distinct tariff problems. First, duty free or a duty for revenue, or to encourage the recovery of by-products of the California lemon industry. Second, it is improbable that the output of by-products from California will be sufficient to supply the demand, and the deficiency must be made up by imports. Whether the imports will be in the form of the finished article (citric acid) or in the form of citrate of lime, which will serve as the raw material for the manufacture of citric acid in the United States, will be determined largely by the difference between the rates on the two articles.
Formic acid.-Consideration should be given to the advisability of adding sodium formate to paragraph 67, because any attempt to raise revenue on formic acid or to encourage its manufacture in the United
States might be defeated through the importation of the sodium formate, which under the present law would be dutiable at 15 per cent under paragraph 5 as a salt not specially provided for.
Lactic acid.-A uniform specific rate of duty bears unevenly upon the different commercial grades and strengths of lactic acid. There were two rates in the act of 1909, with 40 per cent of actual acid as the dividing line. A distinction might be made between lactic acid suitable for edible and medicinal purposes and that not suitable for such purposes, with subdivision of the latter into (a) content of less than 25 per cent by weight of actual lactic acid (at the lowest rate of duty); (b) content of 25 per cent, or more, and less than 50 per cent by weight of actual lactic acid; and (c) content of 50 per cent, or more, by weight of actual lactic acid (at proportionate rates of duty).
Tannic acid and tannin.-Nutgalls, sometimes called gallnuts or galls, a source of tannic acid, are exempt from duty under paragraph 624 of the act of 1913 when used expressly for dyeing or tanning, whether or not advanced in value or condition, except when imported as extracts or decoctions, in which form they are dutiable under paragraph 30 at three-eighths cent per pound. In litigation under the act of 1897 aqueous extract of nutgalls was held by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to be dutiable as nutgalls advanced in value and not dutiable either directly or by similitude as tannic acid or tannin. (145 Fed., 126, of 1906.) Specific provision was made in the act of 1909 for aqueous extract of nutgalls, but in the act of 1913 (par. 30) the word aqueous' was omitted. Merchandise claimed to be extract of nutgalls, which on analysis showed 78.34 per cent of tannic acid, was held, on the record without evidence of the process of manufacture, to be dutiable as tannic acid. (G. A. 8291, T. D. 38151, of 1919.) An appeal is pending in the Court of Customs Appeals. This so-called nutgall extract had a higher tannin content than some of the commercial tannic acids. A Government witness who testified that the merchandise was tannic acid based his belief partly on the high tannin content and partly upon the fact that the extract was in powdered form. This indicates that nutgall extracts are either liquid or semiliquid. A provision differentiating the solid and the liquid or semisolid extracts might be advisable.
Tartaric acid.-The duty on crude tartar materials is an ad valorem rate, whereas the duty on the refined articles, tartaric acid and cream of tartar made therefrom, is a specific rate. As a consequence the effective margin has been reduced by the general advance in prices which has occurred since the passage of the act of 1913.
All other acids.-The provision for acid anhydrides, new in the act of 1913, was held less specific than paragraph 387 for anhydrides of acids named in the latter. Phthalic and phosphoric were the particular acid anhydrides in issue. Commercial designation as acids was established for both. (G. A. 7819, T. D. 35914, of 1915; 8 Ct. Cust. Appls., 141; T. D. 37270, of 1917.)
Under the construction against repeal by implication (9 Ct. Cust. Appls., -; T. D. 37978, 37980, of 1919; Decs. Treas. Dept., Oct. 5 and Nov. 7, 1916, published in report of Tariff Commission on Dyes and Other Coal-tar Chemicals, pp. 65, 66) coal-tar products more