Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Orpiment

Orpiment is the bright orange colored mineral found with realgar.  Both are arsenic sulfides and toxic.  It is named for aurum which is “gold” and pigmentum which is “pigment” in Latin in allusion to its color.

Historically it was used as a medicine during the Roman Empire and in China.  It was used as an insecticide on flies.  It has been used to poison the tips of arrows. 
It was used as  a pigment in paintings. 

Today it is used for making infrared-transmitting glass for the medical industry.  It is also used in making linoleum and semi-conductors.

It is also used in hair-removal products.

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