Questions tagged [toxicity]

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

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73
votes
5answers
18k 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 ...
42
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5answers
42k 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 ...
33
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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 ...
33
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4answers
13k 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 ...
32
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2answers
154k 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....
23
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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 ...
21
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3answers
4k views

How toxic chemically is plutonium (Pu), neglecting the radioactive damage?

In Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb, he says that, while Pu is not that radioactive (which is surprising -- maybe he means compared with radium and some other elements), it is very toxic. I would ...
20
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3answers
2k 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 ...
20
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2answers
23k 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, ...
18
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1answer
8k views

Why are the halogens good disinfectants?

I've been searching around the internet for a while and I know that Chlorine, Bromine and Iodine are used as disinfectants. My question is, what is the property of the halogens that make them ...
17
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2answers
5k views

Why is potassium ferrocyanide considered safe for consumption, when it is just one reaction away from the highly toxic potassium cyanide?

According to this answer, heating potassium ferrocyanide will decompose it into potassium cyanide. Now, potassium ferrocyanide is an approved anti-caking agent, and hence used in table salt, for ...
15
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3answers
21k views

Is poison still poisonous after its 'expiration date'?

As we all know that, Any poison is nothing but a chemical compound. And as discussed in the question: Chemicals-do-have-an-expiry-date! So, my question is: Is poison still poisonous after its '...
15
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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 ...
15
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3answers
14k views

What is the effect on humans of using dry ice and liquid nitrogen as food additives?

I have seen on a TV show that some guy uses dry ice (solid $\ce{CO2}$) to make ice cream and on an another TV show, liquid nitrogen ($\ce{N2}$) is used with tequila. Both are edible. I know that ...
15
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4answers
27k 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....
14
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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' ...
14
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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 ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Receiving milk for working in harmful environment

I just got a job in a chemical/biological lab (post-Soviet Country). Chemists here receive milk for "harmfulness of the work" (i .e. their work involves working with all kind of substances/reactives). ...
13
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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 ...
13
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2answers
3k views

Any substance too poisonous to measure an LD50?

A recent question on poisons was answered in part by bringing up the concept of $\pu{LD_{50}}$ and animal testing and so on; none of that was new to me, but it did bring to mind a question I don’t ...
12
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3answers
4k views

Chilling water in copper vessel

Does chilling drinking water in copper bottle result in any chemical reaction that turns it dangerous for consumption in any way? Few days back, in summer, I carried kokum juice in copper bottle. I ...
12
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3answers
41k 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
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3answers
8k views

Calcium carbonate toxicity

I can't make heads or tails of the information on the net — although there seems to be plenty of it, it seems contradictory. Supposedly, calcium carbonate is used in antacids—yet there are warnings ...
11
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3answers
17k views

Do hard drive platters contain toxic chemicals?

So, I'm considering an Artsy Fartsy project with hard drive platters. Being mildly aware of the world around me, I've come to the conclusion that I probably shouldn't grind up modern (or any) ...
11
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2answers
16k views

At what amount is digesting soap unhealthy?

Several of my friends, when they do the dishes manually, do not rinse the dishes after cleaning but merely dip them in the dishwater and then dry them (using a towel or a dish rack). I myself on the ...
11
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1answer
443 views

How long burned tobacco/cigarette smoke remain toxic?

It's hard to evaluate Environmental Tobacco Smoke lifecycle, it can certainly react, be absorbed by organisms, or be diluted in rain, and be emitted again from the ground. But in the end, I'm ...
11
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1answer
223 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 ...
10
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4answers
3k views

How much ozone is produced by ionization of air and how turn ozone into oxygen

I want to make a plasma speaker. I'm worried about the amount of ozone being produced by the ionization of the air and it possibly not being a safe amount. Even if it doesn't produce a dangerous ...
10
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2answers
18k views

Is palladium really that poisonous?

In Iron man 2, the protagonist Tony Stark was anxious about his blood toxicity due to palladium core that was keeping him alive was slowly poisoning his blood. It is written here that: The ...
10
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1answer
136 views

Are the tars in cannabis considerably more dangerous than those in tobacco?

The claim that "the tars in cannabis are considerably more dangerous than those in tobacco" is made in Patricks An Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry (4th edition, p. 169). It's just a simple one ...
9
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1answer
145 views

What's wrong with using tin in medicinal chemistry?

I just read this In the Pipeline post and I was slightly confused by a statement on the use of tin. Lowe reports on this paper, which describes a synthetic route to spiro heterocycles using tin ...
9
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2answers
9k views

Is bamboo based plastic less likely to leak chemicals?

Some plastics have been known to leak plasticizers (bisphenol and phthalates) into the food they contain, especially when heated. Because such compounds are suspected of being endocrine disruptors it ...
9
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1answer
542 views

Why does ethanol have a health rating of [2] in NFPA 704 whereas methanol, which is far more toxic, has a rating of only [1]?

Why Ethanol has the blue health hazard rating of 2 in NFPA 704 where as both Acetone and Methanol which are far more toxic than Ethanol have a rating of only 1? (Click on each link to see the NFPA ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Are risks (hexavalent chromium) during Chrome plating temporary, or remain with the product?

Since some chrome plating production processes generate hexavalent_chromium compounds, which are reportedly highly toxic/carcinogenic, I wonder: Do the hexavalent chromium substances only occur (...
8
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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. ...
8
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1answer
4k 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
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1answer
393 views

Is Sweetwater, Missouri, named due to water contamination with lead compounds?

The town of Sweetwater, Missouri is known for its mineral resources, particularly rich lead sulfide (galena) deposits. I am curious to find the origin of the name "Sweetwater" and if it has any ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Taste same but why not LiCl a substitute for NaCl (common salt)?

A clinical paper from 1949 [1] observes the toxicity of LiCl, at very low concentrations. That just went over my head... Is toxicity the only reason to avoid LiCl as a substitute for NaCl (specially ...
7
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2answers
165 views

Would standing next to a pool of mercury do you any harm?

I was watching this clip from the 2017 film The Mummy in which the characters stand next to a pool of mercury which was being used as part of an elaborate prison. Several comments under this video ...
7
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1answer
441 views

Cyanide from seeds breaking down in a pond

I have a large loquat tree that overhangs a pond. The loquat seeds apparently contain cyanide of some sort, so I'm trying to find the effect the seeds have when they fall in the pond. Over time I ...
7
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1answer
22k views

Adulteration of turmeric with Metanil yellow

I read in the local paper that common food products like turmeric can be adulterated. It continued to specify the adulterant which they called metanil yellow. On searching on the Net, I was able to ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Dangers of corroded mercury battery

Disclaimer: Sorry if this is not a pure chemistry question. If it's better suited to another SE, I'm happy to have it migrated there. I'm in the process of cleaning my father's workshop, and recently ...
7
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2answers
464 views

Why is mercury much more toxic when inhaled than injected?

Following wikipedia: Cases of systemic toxicity from accidental swallowing are rare, and attempted suicide via intravenous injection does not appear to result in systemic toxicity,[1] though it is ...
7
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2answers
731 views

Cyanogenic glycosides and HCN

I'm researching cyanide for a biology project and noted that one of the largest sources of carbohydrates in the tropics is the cassava root -- which I previously researched as a food that contains a ...
6
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5answers
13k views

Is tin and tinware toxic?

I tried to find info on tin toxicity but there is not much. Wikipedia here says that it is not very poisonous; but there could be cases. My question is: is it dangerous to say have a coffee boiled ...
6
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1answer
1k views

What makes formaldehyde 'safe' or 'dangerous'?

I know that formaldehyde naturally occurs as a metabolite and can be found in our own and other animals' bodies, plants, and unprocessed food. But formaldehyde is also registered as a carcinogenic ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Why is carbon monoxide not a greenhouse gas?

Carbon monoxide is considered to be a toxic gas and, given that it is usually found along with $\ce{CO2}$, why it is not considered a greenhouse gas?
6
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1answer
8k 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" ...
6
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2answers
5k views

Liquifying metal and toxic fume exposure

I just read a very entertaining Youtube comment thread on a video where TheBackyardScientist melts tin on the stove in his (enclosed) kitchen, the proceeds to cook a steak on it. According to the ...
6
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1answer
325 views

I (might) have accidentally combined these mold-killers at home: Any adverse reactions?

A trailer is a small enclosed space. About 2 months ago we had some mold and I applied some mold killer to a few spots that I could not remediate. Below I've listed 2 products I used. (I definitely ...