Simon Brugner – The Arsenic Eaters

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This book investigates the widespread historical belief that the consumption of arsenic, generally known to be a deadly poison, is beneficial to one's health. Accordingly, many "poison eaters" were found among the Austrian rural population in the nineteenth century. What they were ingesting was white (arsenic trioxide) or yellow arsenic (arsenic trisulfide). It was produced by roasting arsenic-containing minerals. Arsenic eaters were robust persons, and usually of the lower class of society, wood cutters, charcoal burners, stablemen, foresters, etc. They ingested arsenic to be 'strong and healthy': to look rosy, to resist fatigue.

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