Arsenic to war

Irazabalbeitia, Inaki

kimikaria eta zientzia-dibulgatzailea

Elhuyar Fundazioa

Watching this film, directed by Frank Cappra and starring Gary Grant, we made great laughter. Two nice sharks by Gary Grant freed the homeless and poor from the world's suffering with a little arsenic.
Good arsenic for pigs!

People have exaggerated a lot about the ability to kill arsenic. To a large extent he has not been wrong, because for centuries it was the best poison. It was undetectable and the poisoner needed little (less than a quarter of a gram) to fulfill his purpose of killing the victim. Symptoms of arsenic venom and other diseases can be easily confused. It is also easy to apply. The compound used has been white arsenic (Arsenic oxide). Little soluble in water, but mixed in wine will work properly.

It is believed that the German alchemist Alberto Haundia (1193-1280) discovered arsenic. Since then, kings, popes and other humble friends have suffered the influence of arsenic. XVIII. The mystery about arsenic began to disappear when alchemistry opened the way to chemistry in the mid-20th century. Advances in Analytical Chemistry allowed to detect up to the minimum arsenic footprint by 1830. The golden age of arsenic killings was over.

More than poison

Today opinions about arsenic are changing. It seems that arsenic is necessary for animal life. In addition, it is not believed that the skin is the cause of lung minivites.

The body of a person of 70 kg has an average of 10 milligrams of arsenic. The liver is constantly removing this element and transforming it into dimethylarsenic acid [(CH 3) 2 AsO 2 H]. This methylated arsenic compound has a toxicity of 1% of inorganic arsenic.

It is suspected that the great Napoleon was carried by arsenic.

Through the foods we eat, we are constantly feeding our body of arsenic. Arsenic is widespread in the environment (soil, mineral water and sea). Everything we eat has arsenic, although some foods are more than others. Marine animals, fish and shellfish contain relatively high amounts of arsenic: oysters will have arsenic 3.5 ppm (ppm= million), mussel 120 p.m. may become 175 ppm of shrimps. As you can see, some organisms accumulate precious amounts of arsenic in your body.

However, animals need arsenic. Studies with chickens and goats have shown that those who had a diet without arsenic have grown more slowly and slowly, and have not reached a normal size until they have started to give arsenic.

It is unclear why arsenic is necessary. However, it seems that the reason is intimately related to the metabolism of amino acid arginine and zinc and manganese. It is also known that arsenic favors hemoglobin production. That's why doctors use arsenic in treating anemia.

Arsenic in small doses is harmful and beneficial to health. Many mineral waters, such as the well-known Vichi, have had their medicinal effects on arsenic. Doctors have used arsenic compounds to treat many diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis, asthma, malaria, diabetes, and venereal diseases. The first drug successfully used in the treatment of syphilis, known as Salvarsan, was the arsenic compound.

Animals are also used to raise arsenic compounds. Baserritarras use a compound called "roxarsona" for the breeding of chickens and pigs. In short, roxarson is 3-nitro-4-hydroxyarsenic acid. Nevertheless, you need to be careful with this compound. You have to stop donating the animal a few days before his death so that he can release the arsenic that has accumulated in his body. The release is very fast and in a few days the degree of arsenic of tissues decreases up to 1 ppm acceptable.

Poison poison

If a normal person takes 100 mg of arsenic, the first symptom is nausea. This may occur 15 minutes after taking or 12 hours later. Symptoms depend on the amount of food in the stomach when taking arsenic. Unfortunately, it starts throwing too late to take healing measures. The symptom below is diarrhea. It begins at 12 hours of taking and ends with death. Arsenic that has entered the blood system is the one with the greatest problems. The liver needs two days to remove and remove the poison. Usually it does not have time because at 36 hours death comes in hand. A few men have had 96 hours of pain.


Arsenic oxide (VI) has been the most widely used compound in poisoning machines. It is practically tasteless and if it tastes something sweet. Arsenic oxide (VI) is not water-soluble, but a saturated solution is enough to deliver the passport to the victim. The amount of Arsenic oxide (VI) dissolved in a glass of water is enough to extinguish the lives of about 10 people.

Arsenic has been used by kings and potatoes, while they have been victims. The Borgian family was very skilled in handling arsenic. Alexander VI, Pope Borgio, and his son Cesare, were victims of arsenic revenge. At a party held in August 1503, the criminals of that time assured that they accidentally ate the food they had prepared to poison other guests. As a result, the Pope died a few days later and Cesare survived. Cesare was bishop of Pamplona and was finally killed in Navarra.

However, Borgians were few compared to other poisons. XVII. In the 19th century, in Sicily there was a woman named Toffana, broken by all brands. He distributed a potion known as Aqua Toffana and organized a hidden network for distribution in Naples (Is the origin of the Camp there? ). It is said that 500 people and two popes were used before.

Apparently, Napoleon also suffered the consequences of arsenic. Napoleon's hairs have been found 13 times more archaic than normal. However, if Napoleon died because of arsenic it does not seem to be the fruit of criminal revenge, but of unexpected revenge. In the house of St. Helena the dye used on wall paper had arsenic.

In this humid environment molds and fungi were formed on paper. Fungi reacted with dyes by absorbing arsenic, which was subsequently released into the atmosphere as a trimethylartsine volatile compound. Napoleon breathed trimethylartsine and finally died. Napoleon and his servants frequently complained for six years in Saint Helena about the environment generated by the humidity of the house.

And finally, to end this black chronicle on arsenic, we will tell what happened at the beginning of the century in the city of Manchester. Between 1900 and 1901 a massive enthusiasm for arsenic affected 6000 people. 70 of them died. Beer was the culprit. For the manufacture of beer glucose is necessary, which in this case was contaminated by arsenic. This glucose was obtained from sugar by the sulfuric acid method. Unfortunately, the sulfuric acid used contained 1.4% arsenic acid. It was in sulfuric acid, the source of arsenic; it was in pyrites that were used for its manufacture, since they had much more arsenic than normal.

Look! Don't think about using arsenic to clean someone you don't want too much. The traces it leaves are easily detected!

Eusko Jaurlaritzako Industria, Merkataritza eta Turismo Saila