...warning about liver of sulfur. One of my students used a
weak liver of sulfur at home, with ventilation, and it turned her
teeth quite black!
G’day. Teeth are mostly made of apatite - a complex of calcium
phosphate and fluoride with some protein. The gas given off and -
presumably - inhaled by people using ‘liver of sulphur’ would be
hydrogen sulphide, from a reaction with the ‘liver of sulphur’
(potassium polysulphide) and moisture. If teeth were to react with
hydrogen sulphide (or any other sulphide) the resultant compound would
contain calcium sulphide - which is a yellow-white. Not black.
However, teeth fillings contain silver, and as we all know, that IS
black. But a large varieties of foods contain sulphur compounds:
onions, leeks, kidney…etc. Which can (and do) colour teeth fillings
Hydrogen sulphide gas is poisonous and is of equal toxicity as carbon
monoxide Both combine with and sequester haemoglobin in blood; one
really dies of lack of oxygen.
One would need more than a gentle sniff: I worked in laboratories
most of my life which reeked of hydrogen sulphide; a whole large
community living in the city of Rotorua in New Zealand daily lives
with the stink. And none of us has done too badly.
Can anyone suggest less toxic substitutes?
Gun bluing liquids have been suggested - but they are probably worse
than potassium or calcium polysulphides - many of the former contain
selenium which is really nasty. The answer, of course, is not to
breathe too much of the odour - who’d want to anyway? Use a well
ventilated place, and don’t loose too much sleep over it. Cheers,
John Burgess in late spring Mapua, NZ. But there was snow last
night on the nearby mountains.