Arsenic trioxide

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A white amorphous powder formed when elemental Arsenic is heated. Arsenic trioxide was used as a wood preservative, hide preservative, Fungicide, herbicide, and Pesticide. Arsenic trioxide is used in the manufacture of Glass to eliminate any green color resulting from Iron impurities. It was also used as a colorant in paints and enamels.

Synonyms and Related Terms

arsenous acid; arsenous acid anhydride; arsenous oxide; arsenic sesquioxide; white arsenic; crude arsenic; arsenious oxide; white alum (prior to 1800)


  • Highly toxic by ingestion and inhalation.
  • Carcinogen and mutagen.
  • Strongly irritating to skin.
  • LabChem: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in acids, alkalis and glycerol. Slightly soluble in water.
  • Sublimes on heating.
Composition As2O3
CAS 1327-53-3
Density 3.865 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 197.8

Resources and Citations

  • L. Goldberg, A History Of Pest Control Measures In The Anthropology Collections, National Museum Of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, JAIC (35):23-43, 1996
  • Nancy Odegaard, Alyce Sadongei, and associates, Old Poisons, New Problems, Altimira, Walnut Creek, CA, 2005
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 68
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 844
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998