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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- Calcium arsenate is a colorless, odorless, flocculent white powder solid pentavalent arsenic compound. It is expected to have the toxicity of arsenical compounds in general. It is advisable to treat all arsenic compounds as highly toxic. Over time, calcium arsenate released into water will hydrolyze to arsenic acid. Arsenite may also be formed in calcium arsenate mixtures, potentially increasing the toxicity. Calcium arsenate is one of the most toxic compounds to which orchard spraying workers are exposed.
- Acute arsenic ingestion generally produces symptoms within 30 to 60 minutes, but onset may be delayed for several hours if ingested with food. A metallic or garlic taste, vomiting, abdominal pain, dysphagia, and profuse watery (rice-water-like) and sometimes bloody diarrhea may occur. Dehydration, intense thirst, and fluid-electrolyte disturbances are common. Hypovolemia from capillary leaking ("third spacing" of fluids) is a common early event.
- Systemic arsenic poisoning from occupational exposure is uncommon. Arsenic workers have developed a hoarse voice; nasal irritation and possibly perforation of the nasal septum; irritation of eyes, skin, and mucous membranes; and rarely, cirrhosis of the liver. Nausea and vomiting are infrequent. Painful ulceration of the wrist and scrotal skin, lips, and nostrils may develop with dust exposure.
- The primary target organs initially are the gastrointestinal tract, heart, brain, and kidneys. Eventually, the skin, bone marrow, and peripheral nervous system may be significantly damaged. The peripheral neuropathy appears similar regardless of the route of exposure.
- Arsenic has been linked to cancers of the skin and possibly to bronchogenic cancer.
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