A Very Victorian Poison

Victorian poison

Alan Lansdown looks at the toxicology and uses of arsenic, from 19th-century poison to potential cancer treatment

The Biologist Vol 61(2) p22-25

In crime novels, arsenic is often used to dispose of victims of malice, and, unfortunately, it has been added to food or drinking water in many real-life murders. High levels of arsenic in drinking water are also a huge health problem for many populations around the world, especially in Argentina, South east Asia and even some parts of Europe.

Yet this remarkable metalloid element has been used in medicine since the time of the ancient Greeks and now is even showing promise as a treatment for certain cancers...

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