Arsenic and old wallpaper

In honor of our newly-discovered terrestrial neighbors, the arsenophilic bacteria GFAJ-1, I thought we should pay a visit to Professor Marty Poliakoff and the rest of the gang at the University of Nottingham’s chemistry department. True to form, their Periodic Table of Videos explanation of arsenic is chock-full of chemical trivia. Did you know that arsenic was used in the manufacture of green pigments in the nineteenth century? And that people were actually poisoned when their green wallpaper got moldy and the fungi outgassed arsenate compounds? To life forms that aren’t bacteria living in Mono Lake, the stuff is deadly. So be careful how you take it out of the box…

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