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Arsenic (As)

warning sign deadly

Handle With Care. Arsenic is a deadly poison.

In early Victorian times arsenic was used to make coloured pigments notably Green and Yellow used for coloured wallpapers. It was also used by other industries such as glass manufacture, in the production of lead-shot, in leather tanning, in pharmaceuticals and in farming for sheep dips. It is a silvery grey semi-metal, which gives off a characteristic garlic smell when hit with a hammer.

During the early 19th Century Cornwall pioneered world arsenic production. For hundreds of years arsenic was considered a nuisance, contaminating the black tin concentrates. But by the 1800’s there was an increasing demand for arsenic for a variety of purposes including pesticides and medicine. Many Cornish copper and tin lodes contained arsenic, usually found in combination with iron and sulphur as the mineral arsenopyrite.

Data Panel: Arsenic Native Element

As
colour
Pale grey. Tarnishes to dark grey or black.
hardness
3-4
Crystal system
Trigonal
Crystal habit
Typically in round banded or botryodial masses
Lustre
Metallic but dull when tarnished
Streak
black
Fracture
Uneven
Other characteristics
Produces Garlic smell when hit or crushed

 


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Comment left by James Lever on 2011-11-21 02:58:09

Some of the arsenic exported to America may have been re-imported to Lancashire carried in cotton bales as calcium arsenate pesticide used to combat the boll weevil. Seven million tons of American cotton were imported to Lancashire from 1920-1950

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