MERCURY 523 Acid vegetables and fruits may extract antimony from cheap enamelled vessels ; hence they should not be cooked in such vessels.48 Hellen Liikis reports the cases of three families in which all the members were stricken down with sickness and diarrhoea; investigation showed that the symptoms came on shortly after eating rhubarb pie baked in a cheap new enamelled pie dish.49 Tartar emetic is given to confirmed drunkards as a cure for the habit, and accidental poisoning has occurred from an overdose thus given. Tartar emetic acts as a depressant to the heart muscle; hence even if given in medicinal doses it may prove fatal to the persons who are aged, infirm and debilitated from disease, while these doses would not have any deleterious effect on strong, healthy individuals. Cases of accidental poisoning sometimes occur from chloride of antimony as it is used in arts as a bronzing liquid. Method of Administration.—Symptoms of poisoning have occurred not only from its administration by the mouth, but from its external application in the form of a powder or an ointment to the unbroken skin, from its use as an enema and from its absorption into the system by wearing a cloth to colour which tartar emetic was used as a mordant. Elimination of Antimony.—By the vomit and purging it promotes, anti- mony is largely expelled immediately after it is swallowed, and is eliminated rapidly by the kidneys after it is absorbed into the system. It is also elimi- nated by the mucous membrane of the stomach even if administered by any other channel than the mouth. Before it is eliminated it is deposited into the liver, spleen, kidneys and long bones. It is also excreted in the bile and milk. Antimony, like arsenic, has a preservative effect on the bodies of per- sons who die from its poisoning by repeated small doses administered for a prolonged period. For example, in two cases of exhumation the bodies were found in a remarkable state of preservation after a burial of twenty-one months and five years.50 On analysis antimony was found to be present in the internal organs, such as the stomach, liver, kidneys, intestine and even the brain. Antimony is not a normal constituent of the body, nor is it met with in any of the food articles. Hence any attempt based on these grounds to explain its presence in the tissues must necessarily fail. The poison, if present in the body, must have been administered—there is no other possible explanation. MERCURY (PARA) Mercury or quicksilver is a liquid metal having a bright silvery lustre. It is easily converted into the form of a dull grey powder when shaken up with oil or triturated with sugar, chalk or lard. The process is known as deadening, and is used in preparing mercurial ointment and emplastrum. The metal is not acted upon by hydrochloric acid. It is slightly dissolved by dilute cold sulphuric acid but completely dissolved by strong sulphuric and nitric acids. It is a pharmocopceial preparation, and is called Hydrargy- rum, the non-official dose being J to 3 grains by the mouth and J to 1 grain by intramuscular injection. The other official preparations of the metal are— 1. Hydrargyrum cum creta (Grey powder).—It is a greyish-blue powder and contains 33 per cent of mercury. The dose is 1 to 5 grains. If 48. Miller, Jour. Home Econ., 1916, VTEI, p. 361. 49. Brit Med. Jour., April 1, 1933, p. 581. 50. Stevenson, Brit, Med. Jour., April 11, 1903, p. 873.