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Copper And Its Preparations

Poisoning with copper salts is rare. The most important are the

sulphate, subacetate, and arsenite.

=Sulphate of Copper= (bluestone, blue vitriol) in half-ounce doses is a

powerful irritant. Has been given to procure abortion.

=Subacetate of Copper= (verdegris) occurs in masses, or as a greenish

powder. Powerful, astringent, metallic taste. Half-ounce doses have

proved fatal.

Symptoms.--Epigastric pain, vomiting of bluish or greenish matter,

diarrhoea. Dyspnoea, depression, cold extremities, headache, purple line

round the gums. Jaundice is common. A chronic form of poisoning may

occur, with symptoms closely resembling those of lead.

Post-Mortem Appearances.--Inflammation of stomach and intestines,

which are bluish or green in colour.

Treatment.--Encourage vomiting. Give albumin or very dilute solution

of ferrocyanide of potassium.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--Boil the contents of the

stomach in water, filter, pass hydrogen sulphide, filter, collect

precipitate and boil in nitric acid, filter, dilute filtrate with water

and apply tests. In the case of the solid organs, dry, incinerate,

digest ash in hydrochloric acid, evaporate nearly to dryness, dilute

with water, and test.

Tests.--Polished steel put into a solution containing a copper salt

receives a coating of metallic copper. Ammonia gives a whitish-blue

precipitate, soluble in excess. Ferrocyanide of potassium gives a rich

red-brown precipitate. Sulphuretted hydrogen gives a deep brown