Deadly green

  In Europe in the 19th century, bright and vivid emerald green was all the rage, but no one thought that there was a murderous intention hidden in this charming green.
  In 1775, Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheler developed a green pigment. He added arsenic trioxide to a heated sodium carbonate solution, then added copper sulfate, and filtered and dried the product to obtain a green powder that was a bit like matcha in color, and its chemical composition was copper hydrogen arsenite. Later, it was called “Scheler Green”.
  More than 20 years later, a more vivid emerald green pigment was born. Often called Parisian green, or emerald green, the chemical behind it is copper acetate arsenite.
  Both Scheler green and Paris green are highly toxic. However, green was so popular at the time that it became the iconic fashion color of the Victorian era. It is found in printed wallpaper, artificial flowers, wrapping paper, clothes, and even food and children’s toys. Among them, wallpapers are prevalent in Europe and the United States. Floral patterns or natural landscapes on wallpapers use bright green pigments in large areas. These green pigments are favored by wallpaper manufacturers because of their low fading resistance and low cost.
  Of course, there are those who remain calm about it. In 1815, German chemist Leopold Gmelin publicly pointed out that wallpapers containing arsenic pigments were dangerous. Unfortunately, people did not pay attention to his words.
  By the 1850s, newspapers, magazines, and medical journals had published numerous cases of poisoning. Among them, there is a Richard Turner couple, their children died one after another. Tissue testing of the remains confirmed that they had died from arsenic poisoning. What killed them was the green wallpaper on the bedroom wall. The wallpapers were torn down and children were playing with them and even licking them in their mouths.
  In fact, it is not only children who are recruited, but adults are also affected by it. As long as people live in rooms with arsenic-laced wallpaper, people will experience a series of poisoning symptoms such as headaches, sore throats, nausea, dizziness, and even eye irritation.
  It turned out that the powder of these green pigments often fell off the wallpaper and was inhaled by the occupants. People don’t know that the arsenic in green pigments sticks to the surface only in powder form, and is not strong even when glued. In addition, under the action of humid environment and mold, the arsenic in wallpaper will undergo chemical changes, resulting in arsenic-containing gas.
  In addition, behind the green popularity, it is the producers who really take the risk. In the process of mining, processing arsenic, and making pigments and decorative products, workers are exposed to far more toxic doses than consumers, and it is not uncommon for death, injury and disability.
  After the dangers of arsenic in pigments were disclosed, arsenic-containing pigments were banned by European legislation.
  Now, in the face of the green and colorful Victorian wallpaper, it is hard to believe that there is a different kind of chill in the green.