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It is a constituent of several ores, particularly realgar, orpment and the arsenio-sulphide of iron. Arsenic as an impurity, frequently contaminates articles of domestic use, and as a result of an extensive epidemic of arsenical poisoning in the midlands, traceable to the consumption of beer. A royal commission was set up to investigate the whole question; in its final report 1901 gives this list of foodstuffs which have in the past been liable to contain arsenic: Beer; Golden syrup and treacle; Glucose used in manufacture of table syrup, amber syrup, etc.; Jams and marmalade, these often contain 5% of glucose; Honey (from added glucose) and artificial honey whose basis is glucose; Many kinds of sweets (candy) Vinegar; Demerara sugar from chemical additions, the object of which is to produce ‘bloom’ and colour the sugar; Malt, maltine and consequently infant foods containing these, yeast, glycerin-this chemical is put into cakes to keep them moist and to sweeten them, and some meat extracts and confectionery may contain glycerin. As an ingredient in colouring matters arsenic was found in: Bole Armenia-added to sausages, anchovy preparation cocoa, sweets, and chocolate powder; Coal tar preparations used to colour foods, these colourings matters having contained arsenic, which has also been discovered in caramel; Boron and borax, both liable to be contaminated with arsenic, are used in large quantities as food preservatives; Gelatin, bloaters, hams and chicory have also been condemned for containing arsenic. The source of the contamination was found in the method adopted for the manufacture of the glucose, either the sulfuric or hydrochloric used to ‘invert’ the sugar was itself contaminated with arsenic in the process of manufacture. This came from the original sulfur containing ore, or else the materials had been subjected to heat from coke stoves and furnaces. The arsenic had been derived from the coke. Since the report of the royal commission greater attention has been paid to the matter by manufacturers and owing to closer scrutiny of health authorities carefully watch the ingredients and the conditions of manufacture. Cheapness May Mean Careless Supervision. The practical point is that where articles such as glycerin have to be rendered free from deleterious substances which arise during the manufacture of the article. This causes a rise in expense and must be incurred and a corresponding price charged for the finished product. White arsenic is largely used foe sheep dips and as an ingredient of several weed killers. When sold, law, bar exceptional circumstances, should always mix it with 1/16th of its weight either of soot or of indigo.
Since the powdered oxide of arsenic has on several occasions has been mistaken for white flour, baking powder or magnesia with fatal results. An unintelligent use of arsenical sheep dips or arsenical soaps for dogs has resulted in the death of many animals Poisoning by Arsenic On the stomach and intestinal canal arsenic is an irritant, producing colic, diarrhea and vomiting. These symptoms become so pronounced in some cases that a sufferer has all the appearances of a victim of Asiatic cholera, even to the rice water stools. As a consequence of the researches of Sir W. h. Willcox it is now recognized that the fatal effects of a large dose of arsenic are due to the action on the heart muscle. It increases the rapidity of the heartbeat and therefore of the pulse. It definitely weakens the muscle of the heart by causing a fatty degeneration. The muscle or sinew of the heart is replaced to a large extent by fat; the result is the heart cannot do its work. The patient suffers fainting attacks and sometimes dies.