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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.
arsenic trioxide an oxidized form of arsenic, used in weed killers and rodenticides. It is also administered intravenously as an antineoplastic in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
arsenic poisoningToxicity caused by arsenic, a toxic trace metal that is a key component of herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, wood preservatives and used in manufacturing glass and paints. The usual fatal dose is 100–200 mg; there are ± 1900 arsenic poisonings/year (US), 85% of which are accidental by children < age 6; the rest are adult suicides.
Vague gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting) and neurologic (apprehension and shortness of breath) symptoms, and a classic sign—“garlic” breath—followed by dysphagia, tachycardia, severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea, then by renal and cardiac failure and circulatory collapse.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.