Arsenic (atomic no. 33) is a steel-gray, brittle, crystalline metalloid with three allotropic forms that are yellow, black, and gray. It tarnishes in air and when heated is rapidly oxidized to arsenous oxide (As2O3) with the odor of garlic. It belongs to Group V-A, has an atomic weight of 74.922, and closely resembles phosphorus chemically. Gray As, the ordinary stable form, has a density of 5.73 g/cm3, a melting point of 817°C, and sublimes at 613°C. The more common oxidation states available to As are — III, 0, III, and V. Arsenic compounds compete with their phosphorus analogs for chemical binding sites. Arsenic bonds covalently with most nonmetals and metals and forms stable organic compounds in both its trivalent and pentavalent states. The most important compounds are white As (As2O3), the sulfide, Paris Green [3 Cu(AsO2)2•Cu(C2H3O2)2], calcium arsenate, and lead arsenate, the last three being used as agricultural pesticides and poisons.


Sodium Arsenite Arsenic Trioxide Calcium Arsenate Lead Arsenate National Research Council Canada 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Adriano
    • 1
  1. 1.Biogeochemical Ecology Division, Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryUniversity of Georgia Institute of EcologyAikenUSA

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