Questions tagged [toxicity]

Questions on the harmful effects of various substances on the human body, or biological organisms in general.

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74
votes
5answers
19k views

How do people know HCN smells like almonds?

I was told by my chemistry teacher that $\ce{HCN}$ smells like almonds. She then went on to tell a story about how some of her students tried to play a prank on her by pouring almond extract down the ...
20
votes
2answers
24k views

Toxicity of a sheet of lead?

I just went camping and someone brought a game from Australia. There was a wooden box with the top made of a thin, soft sheet of lead with a hole in it. The participants then throw coins at the box, ...
33
votes
2answers
160k views

How do I extract cyanide from apple seeds?

I'm working on a crime story about cyanide poisoning from apple seeds. I just would like to have an idea of what processes and extraction techniques might be involved in getting cyanide from the seeds....
33
votes
4answers
14k views

Why is methanol toxic?

There are two points of view for the answer of this question: The biological view, the only one that I faced during my research, states that since it can trigger perilous conditions like metabolic ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

Does benzene's resonance structure allow it to enter DNA?

According to this link, benzene is able to insert itself into the human DNA. It isn't an authoritative source and appears to be quite biased, so I'm wondering if there's any truth to this. The ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Toxicity of metallic lead (Pb)

I have some pieces of lead ($\ce{Pb}$) at home. I keep them in a box in the closet and never touch them. Can it be harmful? Should I throw them away? I would like to keep them, but I am not ...
2
votes
0answers
188 views

How do we know a nerve agent is tasteless?

According to the BBC, the nerve agent sarin is a tasteless liquid. How do we know that this liquid has no taste, given that anyone to have (not) tasted it in any meaningful quantity presumably died ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is the cyanide ion toxic?

As the title implies, what is the molecular basis of cyanide toxicity? I did some searching around at the CDC and it only states that it prevents cells from using oxygen. I also read how it could take ...
32
votes
4answers
8k views

How are poisons discovered? Does someone have to die/be poisoned from it first?

How are poisons discovered? Does someone have to die/be poisoned from it first? Or are there other ways of discovering the harmfulness of a substance? Perhaps everything is tested on other animals ...
13
votes
8answers
5k views

Are there any good examples of commonly ingested molecules that contain particular toxic individual elements?

In the house on my own and an article popped up on my feed with the following statement: While the Government has insisted the chemical is safe, cadmium is recognised as a cause of lung cancer ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Mercury metal: Not toxic?

Now I (and most of us here, I guess) have grown up around "Mercury's toxic! Avoid handling it! Do NOT screw around with this thing, if you value your life" and other equally heartening pieces of ...
46
votes
5answers
44k views

Is there any substance that's a 4-4-4 on the NFPA diamond?

A lot of the organometallics are rather... interesting compounds to work with. The most famous (among those who care, anyway) is tert-butyllithium or t-BuLi. It is the textbook example of a pyrophoric ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Can drinking a lot of water be fatal?

I vaguely recall having heard that drinking too much water can, over time, prove fatal to the human body. Nothing special about the water; not distilled or de-ionized or anything … just plain ol' ...
15
votes
4answers
28k views

Are modern newspaper inks a health risk?

It's very common in India to see newspapers being used to absorb oils from oily snacks, or simply for temporary food packaging. Some articles say that covering food items in newspaper is a health risk....
12
votes
3answers
43k views

Does milk drinking prevent long-term chemical poisoning?

I have heard some rumors that drinking milk prevents chemical poisoning. I have done a bit research and some sources confirm that. Corrosive Poisons The best first aid is to dilute the poison as ...
11
votes
1answer
226 views

Is Acrylamide carcinogenic? Why?

Recently concerned with health effects by common chemicals existent in food I've been rather busy reading article after article; and just an interesting one came around: Acrylamide (or acrylic ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

Why is methyl parathion less toxic than ethyl parathion?

According to the PubChem pages on ethyl parathion and methyl parathion (pages 11 and 12 of the toxicity section, respectively), methyl parathion is significantly less toxic than ethyl parathion. The ...
2
votes
1answer
868 views

Will squeezing lemon juice on top of foods with ferrocyanide additive release hydrogen cyanide gas?

For example, will squeezing lemon juice on top of table salt with sodium ferrocyanide ($\ce{Na4[Fe(CN)6]}$) additive (E 535) release hydrogen cyanide gas? Examples of ferrocyanide additives: sodium ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Can silica gel beads cause silicosis if crushed?

Can silica gel beads (which I believe are amorphous) when crushed to dust cause silicosis?
8
votes
1answer
5k views

Is the Hollywood portrayal of the effects of ingesting HCN correct?

In the 2012 movie Skyfall, the antagonist Raoul Silva rues that the "hydrogen cyanide" he took ("Do you know what it does to you, hydrogen cyanide?") didn't kill him, leaving him horribly disfigured ...
8
votes
1answer
9k views

Is Blue Silica Gel more harmful than the Orange ones?

I am currently searching for a portable dehumidifier but notice that most of them come with a indicator that actually using the Blue Silica Gel, which I believe that it may contain Cobalt Chloride. ...
6
votes
1answer
9k views

Does melting HDPE plastic produce toxic fumes? (melting, not burning)

● The question isn't about burning HDPE but melting it at the proper temperature. (At 120 to 180°C depending on it's density, it becomes gooey. According to the source below the "extrusion" ...
5
votes
2answers
410 views

How does one tell (or conclude) if a substance is carcinogenic?

It's common to read statements like: Tetrachloroethene ($\ce{CCl2=CCl2}$) was earlier used as a solvent for dry cleaning, but since it contaminated ground water and is a suspected carcinogen, ...
4
votes
0answers
409 views

What are the dangers of melting HDPE and silicone? Is it even possible?

I've searched the internet and couldn't find a specific answer. There doesn't seem to be a single recycling company that takes empty silicone tubes (also know as mastic tubes) and recycles them. As a ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What happens when deodorants or perfumes expire

I know that deodorants and perfumes have alcohol as their main ingredient so I was thinking what happens when their expiry date passes? I tried to search on google but got mixed results. Some say ...
2
votes
0answers
375 views

What makes dimethylmercury ((CH3)2Hg) so penetrative through latex and human skin?

I've read the story of Karen Wetterhahn and how she was poisoned and died from two drops of dimethylmercury that accidentally fell on her latex glove, and I was wondering what is the chemical ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Is elemental lead as toxic as lead compounds? [duplicate]

On the internet, nobody mentions about lead's oxidation state when talking about lead poisoning. I assume it's Pb(II) and Pb(IV), as chelation therapy is suggested as a treatment. Also, its ...