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Arsenic Elemental Arsenic
Atomic Number - 33

During the Bronze Age, arsenic was often included in the bronze, mostly as an impurity, to make the alloy harder.

The History Says

Arsenic has been known and used in Persia and elsewhere since ancient times. The symptoms of arsenic poisoning were not defined, hence it was frequently used for murder until the advent of the Marsh test, a sensitive chemical test for its presence.

The Present Scenario

Recent years have seen fatal animal poisonings, and serious human poisonings resulting from the ingestion of wood ash either directly or indirectly from copper arsenate (CCA) timber (the lethal human dose is approximately 20 grams of ash - roughly a tablespoon). Scrap CCA construction timber continues to be widely burnt through ignorance, in both commercial, and domestic fires.

ARSENIC IS a chemical element in the peridic table with an atomic number 33. It is notoriously poisonous metalloid having three allotropic forms i.e. yellow, black and grey, and is similar to phosphorus. It oxidizes to arsenic trioxide when heated rapidly and have a garlic odor.

Arsenic and some of its compounds also sublimes upon heating. It gets converted to a gaseous form. Elemental arsenic occurs in two solid forms, yellow and gray/metallic, but it do not always form in its elemental state. It is more common in sulfides and sulfosalts, like arsenopyrite, realgar, orpiment, lollingiten and tennantite.

Since the arsenic bearing ores are abundant and native arsenic is rare, it makes one of the important ore of itself. Native arsenic is found in silver ore veins and is processed along with the silver ore. It forms a minor source of arsenic.

Physical Properties of Arsenic

Color Tin-white that quickly tarnishes to dark gray or black.
Luster Metallic but the tarnish will often dull the luster dramatically.
Transparency Crystals are opaque.
Cleavage It is perfect in one direction (basal), but is rarely visible.
Fracture Uneven
Hardness 3 - 4
Specific gravity 5.4 - 5.9+ (It is somewhat heavy for a metallic mineral).
Streak Black

Associated Minerals of Arsenic

Occurrences of Arsenic

Precautions with Arsenic

Arsenic and many compounds of arsenic are especially potent poisons. It disrupts the digestive system which can lead to death from shock. Both, arsenic and its compound inhibit the enzyme lipothiamide pyrophosphate, an important enzyme of metabolism.

The toxicity is manifested a severe gastro enteritis and diarrhoea in animals. This is also described as rice gruel type. Post mortems reveal brick red colored mucosa because of the sever haemorrhage.

The symptoms of arsenic poisoning are as follows:
At the time of ingestion of arsenic, it is suggested to immediately ingest 5 charcoal tablets, so that it helps soak up the arsenic and then pass it through the system naturally. Eating food with sulphur like eggs and onions neutralizes arsenic in a natural, nonchemical way. Presently, there are many chemical and synthetic methods being used to treat its poisoning.

Note:- Seek medical advice immediately if arsenic poisoning is suspected. Never treat presumed arsenic poisoning by yourself.

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