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a chemical element, atomic number 33, atomic weight 74.92. (See Appendix 6.) It is toxic by inhalation or ingestion, and carcinogenic (see arsenic poisoning). In nature it occurs usually as one of its salts; in human environments it is often a pollutant in mining regions, and is used in dyes, household pesticides, and compounds used in agriculture. Arsenic compounds called arsenicals were formerly widely used in medicine.
arsenic poisoning poisoning due to systemic exposure to inorganic pentavalent arsenic. Arsenic is cumulative, storing permanently in hair, nails, and bone, and children are particularly susceptible. Arsenic is odorless and flavorless and has been found in elevated levels in the drinking water that flows through arsenic-rich rocks, leading to serious health problems in some countries. The antidote for arsenic poisoning is dimercaprol. Acute arsenic poisoning, which may result in shock and death, is marked by skin eruptions, swelling of eyelids and limbs, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. Chronic arsenic poisoning (called also arsenism), due to ingestion of small amounts over a long period of time, is marked by skin pigmentation with scaling, keratosis of the palms and soles, white lines on the fingernails, peripheral neuropathy, and confusion.
1. A metallic element, atomic no. 33, atomic wt. 74.92159; forms a number of poisonous compounds, some of which are used in medicine.
2. Denoting the element arsenic or one of its compounds, especially arsenic acid.
[L. arsenicum, G. arsenikon, fr. Pers. zarnik]
arsenic/ar·se·nic/ (As) (ahr´sĕ-nik) a nonmetallic chemical element, at. no. 33. Acute arsenic poisoning may result in shock and death, with skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscular cramps, and swelling of the eyelids, feet, and hands; the chronic form, due to ingestion of small amounts of arsenic over long periods, is marked by skin pigmentation accompanied by scaling, hyperkeratosis of palms and soles, transverse lines on the fingernails, headache, peripheral neuropathy, and confusion.
arsenic trioxide an oxidized form of arsenic used in weed killers and rodenticides; also used as an antineoplastic in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia.
arsenic/ar·sen·ic/ (ahr-sen´ik) pertaining to or containing arsenic in a pentavalent state.
Etymology: Gk, arsen, strong
an element that occurs throughout the earth's crust in metal arsenides, arsenious sulfides, and arsenious oxides. Its atomic number is 33; its atomic mass is 74.92. The arsenic atom occurs in the elemental form and in trivalent and pentavalent oxidation states. This element has been used for centuries as a therapeutic agent and as a poison and continues to have limited use in some trypanocidal drugs such as melarsoprol and tryparsamide. The introduction of nonarsenic trypanocides with less dangerous side effects in the treatment of trypanosomiasis has greatly reduced its use. The average concentration in the human adult is about 20 mg, which is stored mainly in the liver, kidney, GI tract, and lungs. The mechanisms for the biotransformation of arsenics in humans are not well understood. Most arsenics are slowly excreted in the urine and feces, which accounts for the toxicity of the element. arsenic, adj.
arsenicA metallic element (atomic number 33, atomic weight 74.92) which has been linked to deficiency states in some plants and animals. It has no known physiologic role in humans, and is extremely toxic in more than trace amounts.
Reference range Hair/nails <1.0 µg/g; urine <50 µg/24 hours. Excretion in occupationally exposed individuals ranges from 50 to 5000 µg/24 hours.
A metallic element, atomic no. 33, atomic wt. 74.92159; forms a number of poisonous compounds, some of which are used in medicine.
[L. arsenicum, G. arsenikon, fr. Pers. zarnik]
arsenicA metallic element some of whose compounds are violently poisonous. Formerly widely used in insecticides and weed killers and in various industrial processes.
arsenica chemical element in the form of a grey metal, more familiar in the extremely poisonous form of arsenious trioxide. It was at one time used in arsenical soap for the preservation of animal and bird skins in museums, so that particular care should be taken in handling old museum skins.
n toxic metal found in some cereals and Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal remedies. Exposure has been linked to anemia, bladder cancer, jaundice, muscular weakness, and other ailments.
a chemical element, atomic number 33, atomic weight 74.92, symbol As. See Table 6. Arsenic compounds have been widely used in veterinary medicine, but they have been replaced for the most part by antibiotics, which are less toxic and equally effective. Still used in homeopathy. Some of the arsenicals are used for infectious diseases, especially those caused by protozoa, and some skin disorders and blood dyscrasias also are still treated with arsenic compounds. Since arsenic is highly toxic it must be administered with caution. The antidote for arsenic poisoning is dimercaprol (BAL). See also arsenical.
Senna floribunda, S. occidentalis.
copper-chrome-arsenic wood preservative
see wood preservative.
evidence on the response to arsenic supplementation of the diet suggests that it may exert a beneficial effect on patients by controlling deleterious intestinal organisms.
inorganic arsenic poisoning
can occur after ingestion or cutaneous absorption. Acute poisoning is manifested by abdominal pain, diarrhea and dehydration. Chronic poisoning shows a syndrome of emaciation, chronic diarrhea, poor haircoat and greatly reduced productivity.
organic arsenic poisoning
arsanilate poisoning in pigs is characterized by blindness and incoordination and a high recovery rate; poisoning by 4-hydroxyphenyl arsenic acid also in pigs causes a syndrome of tremor and incoordination but only if the affected animals are exercising at the time.
see inorganic arsenic poisoning, organic arsenic poisoning (above).
AsO3, pollutant on pasture from roasting of arsenical and some iron ores.