Vermilion is a naturally occurring, orangish red pigment that was initially made from powdered mineral cinnabar, the ore of which contains mercury, making it poisonous. As an alternative, vermillion can now be obtained by refining tin oxide into a red colorant. Although tin is not itself toxic, it does react with oxygen to form oxides that are impurities in many paint products. These include pthalic acid esters used as softeners in vinyl paints and plasticizers in oil-based paints.
Vermillion was originally used as a cosmetic dye for skin and lips. It was also used as a germicide and anti-inflammatory agent before the discovery of antibiotics. Today it is used primarily as a coloring agent for cosmetics and nail polish.
The word "vermilion" comes from French vermillon meaning "red quartz".
Vermilion has been used since ancient times for painting faces. The Egyptians used it to paint the lips and eyes of mummies. They also used it on the bodies of sacred cows to make them look more attractive.
In Europe, vermilion was used during the Renaissance period for painting portraits and other works of art. It was one of the most expensive colors available at the time.
It has the potential to be exceedingly harmful to humans. Mercury's symbol Hg is derived from its Greek name, hydrargyrum, which means "liquid silver" in reference to its gleaming surface. Because of its speed, the element is sometimes known as "quicksilver." Mercury is a highly poisonous element. It is absorbed through the skin and enters the body through the bloodstream. The only way to remove it from the body is via the feces or urine.
Because of its ability to enter cells, doctors use mercury poisoning as a diagnostic tool for other diseases. For example, if you have symptoms such as headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and irritability, you may have mercury poisoning. You will need to stop eating fish for several days to allow any remaining mercury to leave your body. Otherwise, you may experience serious side effects such as brain damage or death. Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant should not eat more than 12 ounces of shark per week because of possible effects on the fetus. Smaller amounts are safe for men.
Mercury has been used in medicine for hundreds of years. It was originally obtained from natural sources such as gold and silver ore but today it is mostly produced by reducing potassium mercuric oxide with hydrogen gas: K2O + 2H2 → 2KHg + O2. This process can also produce arsenic and antimony as by-products.
Mercury is a toxic, thick, silvery-white metal with a mirror-like appearance. At room temperature, it is the only common metal that is liquid. The name Mercury comes from the Greek word mérgos, which means "of all metals."
The density of mercury is 1130 kg/m3, while its atomic number is 80 and its electron configuration contains 30 electrons in 4 shells. Thus, its chemical formula is Hg and its molecular weight is 200.17. It is a heavy metal that is not likely to cause health problems in small amounts through normal exposure. The most important factor in determining how a person will react to mercury is the type of exposure involved. Organic compounds of mercury such as those found in elemental form in some dental amalgams are toxic if they get into the body. Inorganic mercury, which is present in elemental form in rocks containing gold or silver, is not toxic unless it is absorbed by someone through the skin or ingested through the mouth. Even then, it is not likely to be harmful.
People can be exposed to mercury in many ways, including through the air, by eating food grown in contaminated soil, or by consuming fish, shellfish, and other animals that have eaten contaminated food.