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Potash Soda And Ammonia

=Caustic Potash= occurs in cylindrical sticks, is soapy to the touch,

has an acrid taste, is deliquescent, fusible by heat, soluble in water.

=Liquor Potassæ= is a strong solution of caustic potash, and has a

similar reaction. =Carbonate of Potassium=, also known as potash,

pearlash, salt of tartar, is a white crystalline powder, alkaline and

caustic in taste, and very deliquescent. The bicarbonate is in

colourless pr
sms, which have a saline, feebly alkaline taste, and are

not deliquescent.

Symptoms.--Acrid soapy taste in mouth, burning in throat and gullet,

acute pain at pit of stomach, vomiting of bloody or brown mucus, colicky

pains, bloody stools, surface cold, pulse weak. These preparations are

not volatile, so that there is not much fear of lung trouble. In chronic

cases death occurs from stricture of the oesophagus causing starvation.

Post-Mortem Appearances.--Soapy feeling, softening, inflammation, and

corrosion of mucous membrane of mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, and

intestines. Inflammation may have extended to larynx.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--If the contents of the stomach

have a strong alkaline action, dilute with water, filter, and apply


Tests.--The carbonates effervesce with an acid. The salts give a

yellow precipitate with platinum chloride, and a white precipitate with

tartaric acid. They are not dissipated by heat, and give a violet colour

to the deoxidizing flame of the blowpipe. Stains on dark clothing are

red or brown.

Treatment.--Vinegar and water, lemon-juice and water, acidulated

stimulant drinks, oil, linseed-tea, opium to relieve pain, stimulants in

collapse. Do not use the stomach-tube. The glottis may be inflamed, and

if there is danger of asphyxia, tracheotomy may have to be performed.

=Carbonate of Sodium= occurs as soda and best soda, the former in

dirty crystalline masses, the latter of a purer white colour. It is also

found as 'washing soda.'

Symptoms, Post-Mortem Appearances, Treatment, and Extraction from the

Stomach.--As for potash.

Tests.--Alkaline reaction, effervesces and evolves carbonic acid when

treated with an acid; crystallizes, gives yellow tinge to blowpipe

flame. No precipitate with tartaric acid, nor with bichloride of


=Ammonia= may be taken as liquor ammoniæ (harts-horn), as carbonate of

ammonium, as 'Cleansel,' or as 'Scrubb's Cloudy Ammonia.'

Symptoms.--Being volatile, it attacks the air-passages, nose, eyes and

lungs, being immediately affected; profuse salivation; lips and tongue

swollen, red, and glazed. The urgent symptoms are those of suffocation.

Inhalation of the fumes of strong ammonia may lead to death from

capillary bronchitis or broncho-pneumonia. Death may result from

inflammation of the larynx and lungs. When swallowed in solution, the

symptoms are similar to those of soda and potash.

Post-Mortem Appearances.--Similar to other corrosives.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--The contents of the stomach,

etc., must be first distilled, the gas being conveyed into water free

from ammonia.

Tests.--Nessler's reagent is the most delicate, a reddish-brown colour

or precipitate being produced, but ammonia may be recognized by its

pungent odour, dense fumes given off with hydrochloric acid, and strong

alkaline reaction.

Treatment.--Vinegar and water. Other treatment according to symptoms.

Fatal Dose.--One drachm of strong solution.

Fatal Period (Shortest).--Four minutes.