mation of a double compound of silver arsenide and silver nitrate
(AsAg3, SAgNOa). On the addition of water the yellow colour becomes
black by the separation of silver.
The colour produced by animony is not yellow, but brown or black.
On the other hand, phosphoretted hydrogen produces the same colour as that
of arsenic. In order to avoid this fallacy absorbent cotton is moistened with
a solution of lead acetate.
A modified form of Gutzeit test is used in which a dry paper permeated
with mercuric chloride instead of silver nitrate produces a yellow stain, the
intensity of which varies according to the quantity of arsenic present.
6. Bettendorff's Test.—This test can be used even when arsenic is
present with antimony. It depends on the reduction of arsenic compounds
to elementary arsenic by the action of stannous chloride in the presence of
strong hydrochloric acid. It detects both inorganic and organic compounds
When 2 cc. of the acid solution of the oxidized suspected material are
added to 10 cc. of Bettendorff's reagent in a test tube, and the mixture is
gradually heated, a brown, brownish-black or black precipitate is formed, if
inorganic arsenic is present.
When 1 cc. of the suspected solution is added to 3 cc. of the reagent in a
test tube, a lemon-yellow precipitate or colour results, if the organic com-
pounds of arsenic are present.
Bettendorff's reagent is made by dissolving 1 part of crystallized
hydrated stannous chloride in 10 parts of strongly fumhig hydrochloric acid.
Medico-Legal Points.—1. Arsenic is used homicidally much more fre- 1
quently in India than in any other country, as it is cheap, is easily obtained ^
in every town and is easily concealed in the food in consequence of its free-
dom from smell and taste. A very small quantity of arsenic is necessary to
produce fatal effects, although cases have occurred, where much larger
quantities were given for homicidal purposes. In a homicidal case that came
under my observation in 1931, 101.6 grains of arsenic were detected in the
stomach contents. In the year 1946 the Chemical Examiner of the Central
and United Provinces detected 54.44 grains of arsenic in the portions of the
viscera removed from the body of a sweeper who was administered arsenic
in liquor, and 21.8 grains of arsenic in the vomited matter of a man who had
been poisoned by his wife. Mass homicidal poisoning in which several
persons have been affected has sometimes occurred from arsenic having been
administered by an individual in some article of food. In a few instances,
arsenic is administered with some other poison, such as powdered glass,
copper sulphate, mercury, mercuric chloride, opium, aconite, mix vomica, etc.
Instead of administering a single fatal dose of arsenic at once, the
murderer in Western countries usually administers small doses over a long
period in order to produce the symptoms simulating gastro-enteritis and thus
to conceal the crime.
Arsenic is sometimes employed as an al^grdfacient, both as an internal
administration and as a local application in thelbrm of paste or ointment to
abortion sticks. It is also use'd to poison cattle. Wells are known to have
been poisoned by arsenic not only during war, but also in peace time.
A case occurred at Nagpur, where the accused was stated to have added poison to
water as it was being drawn from a well. A quantity of arsenic was found in the water.19
A bundle of cloth was recovered from a well in the district of Pubna. The cloth
contained some dark grey coloured pasty substance which, on analysis, was found to
19. UP. Chem. Exam. Annual Rep., 1907.
20. Beng. Chem. Exam. Annual Rep.; Ind. Med. Gaz.t Aug. 1915, p. SOS.