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Scheele’s Green (Victorian England, mid-1800s)

Victorian England was much in love with Scheele’s Green, a popular dye that turned everything into the color of a Ninja Turtle/Christmas tree. When I say everything, I do mean everything. Brits used it in clothes, accessories, toys, candles, curtains and wallpaper. The problem stemmed from the fact that the primary ingredient in the dye was arsenic, which is poisonous. And a very potent one. The scary thing is even back then Brits knew arsenic was poisonous, they just thought that as long as it wasn’t ingested (though it was also used in food coloring) that it would be harmless. They were very wrong. When people tried to remove the wallpaper, the population was exposed to accidental arsenic poisoning. Moisture caused the wallpaper to release deadly arsenic gas that literally killed thousands. To safely remove the wallpaper (an extremely dangerous process), you would have to douse the paper with fluid and scrape it off. Every building containing Scheele’s Green was/is a potential gas chamber.

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