The librarians at the University of Southern Denmark weren’t looking for poison. They just wanted to read the scraps of manuscript used to make the covers of three rare books from the 16th and 17th centuries.
When they put the books under X-ray analysis, though, they found they had a real danger in their hands, they write at The Conversation. The books’ covers were suffused with arsenic.
For years, in the 19th century, arsenic was considered dangerous to eat but safe enough to use in other ways, including as dye in postage stamps that were meant to be licked or in green dresses worn to fancy balls. It was regularly used as an ingredient in green paint, to help the color last longer. Now, though, we…
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