Arsenic's Toxic Legacy: People, Places, Pests and Peppermints

Neil Dickinson

East of England
Notice Period:
Emergency (maybe less than one week's notice)
Expensed: 35p/mile and up to 90 minutes travel from Haverhill, Suffolk
24th March 2019

“Arsenic’s Toxic Legacy: People, Places, Pests and Peppermints” is a look at how, during the 19th and 20th centuries, arsenic and its compounds appeared to offer marvellous solutions particularly in the spheres of medicine, fashion, design and pest control so long as an increasingly blind-eye was turned to the problem of its dreadful toxicity. The talk considers a few selected poisonings as well as linking the once major uses of arsenic with its supply in vast quantities across the world from the former mines of Devon and Cornwall. This talk lasts about 1 hour and provides technical information, history, horror and humour in balanced measure, although after hearing it, a mouth-cooling peppermint lozenge might induce a more spine-chilling feeling!

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About Neil Dickinson

My working life has been spent as an industrial chemist and I’ve always been fascinated by the ingenuity and brilliance of humans over history to develop resources and shape them to our own needs, be it for great good or to terrible ends and sometimes for both, as accepted wisdom and circumstances have changed over time. I have delivered several illustrated talks on varied topics since early retirement a few years ago, but my talk on arsenic is a fuller length illustrated presentation and has been sufficiently well received that I am now pleased to offer it to a wider audience.

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