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How can arsenic affect my health?

Breathing high levels of inorganic arsenic can give you a sore throat or irritated lungs.

Ingesting very high levels of arsenic can result in death. Exposure to lower levels can cause nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels, and a sensation of "pins and needles" in hands and feet.

Ingesting or breathing low levels of inorganic arsenic for a long time can cause a darkening of the skin and the appearance of small "corns" or "warts" on the palms, soles, and torso.

Skin contact with inorganic arsenic may cause redness and swelling.

Organic arsenic compounds are less toxic than inorganic arsenic compounds. Exposure to high levels of some organic arsenic compounds may cause similar effects as inorganic arsenic.


* Color is tin-white which quickly tarnishes to dark gray or black.

* Luster is metallic but the tarnish will often dull the luster dramatically.

* Transparency: Crystals are opaque.

* Crystal System is trigonal; bar 3 2/m

* Crystal Habits include rare pseudo cubic rhombohedra crystals and acicular radial aggregates. More commonly found in fine grained masses with concentric bands or botryoidal crusts.

* Cleavage is perfect in one direction (basal), but rarely visible.

* Fracture is uneven.

* Hardness is 3 - 4

* Specific Gravity is 5.4 - 5.9+ (somewhat heavy for a metallic mineral)

* Streak is black.

* Associated Minerals include silver, dyscrasite, barite, cinnabar and nickeline.

* Other Characteristics: Will often have a garlic odor and is poisonous.

* Notable Natural Occurrences include Vosges, France; Kongsberg, Norway; Saxony and Harz Mountains, Germany; Honshu, Japan; England; Italy and Santa Cruz Co., Arizona and New Jersey, USA.

* Best Field Indicators



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