The Chemical Educator

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 51–60 | Cite as

Arsenic Curiosa and Humanity

  • Ronald Bentley
  • Thomas G. Chasteen
In the Classroom


Despite its undoubted toxicity, arsenic is a much-used element, finding applications in agriculture, industry, and medicine. Arsenic as a poison has a prominent role in plays and novels as well as in real life. In medicine, arsenic was so widely used in the 19th century as a cure-all that it has been termed a “therapeutic mule.” Some arsenic compounds are still used in the treatment of parasitic disease. Moreover, in a striking development for a material regarded as a carcinogen, arsenous trioxide (brand name, Trisenox) was recently approved for treatment of leukemia. Arsenic has had a profound overall impact on human lives.


Leukemia Arsenic 19th Century Real Life Human Life 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of ChemistrySam Houston State UniversityHuntsville

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