Copper arsenite

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A light yellowish-green toxic powder known as the pigment Scheele's green. Copper arsenite was discovered in Sweden 1775 by C.W. Scheele, a German chemist, but he did not publish the recipe until 1778. Scheele's green was never widely used as a paint pigment because it was toxic and discolored in the presence of acid or sulfur fumes. Currently, it is used as a rodenticide, insecticide, fungicide, and wood preservative.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Scheele's green; cupric arsenite; Pigment Green 22; CI 77412; mineral green; ash green; cupric acid orthoarsenite; copper orthoarsenite



Other Properties

Soluble in mineral acids, ethanol, ammonium hydroxide. Insoluble in water. Decomposes in alkalis. Darkens in the presence of sulfur or lead compounds.

Composition Cu(AsO2)2
CAS 10290-12-7
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 187.5
Refractive Index 1.55 - 1.75

Hazards and Safety

Extremely toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. Human carcinogen.

May produce toxic arsenic fumes when decomposed by fungi.

International Chemical Safety Card


  • External source or communication Comment: D.A.Scott, Copper and Bronze in Art: Corrosion, Colorants, Conservation, Getty Publications, Los Angeles, 2002.
  • Thomas B. Brill, Light Its Interaction with Art and Antiquities, Plenum Press, New York City, 1980
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Pigments"
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997

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