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BooksFrance's National Library has placed four books from the 19th century under...

France’s National Library has placed four books from the 19th century under “quarantine”

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The National Library of France has placed four books from the 19th century “under quarantine”, reported AFP.

The reason is that their covers contain arsenic.

The discovery was made about five years ago. University scientists have discovered the chemical element in the covers.

The German-American research program Poison Book Project deals with such publications. Most of the arsenic-containing books discovered so far are located in the United States.

The National Library of France has compared identified books in other countries with its catalog by title. After analysis, it turned out that only four volumes of the 28 originally selected contained a large enough amount of the poisonous element.

The editions have been quarantined and will undergo a comprehensive laboratory analysis to determine the amount of arsenic in each, the cultural institution said in a statement.

The four books whose covers contain arsenic were printed in Great Britain. These are two volumes of Irish ballads collected by Edward Hayes in 1855, a bilingual anthology of Romanian poetry published in 1856, as well as collected scientific works of the British Royal Society of Horticulture from 1862-1863. Arsenic is contained in the Schweinfurt green, used for covers in the period 1790-1880. The color was used in English-speaking countries and in Germany, rarely in France.

In theory, there is a possibility that readers of the books will get sick or vomit. The National Library announced to AFP that the risk is minimal. In recent years, no poisoning with such covers has been found anywhere in the world.

Libraries in Germany began a search of their holdings in March for the possible discovery of poisoned covers. Dozens of analyzes have been done. No results have been announced yet, AFP notes.

Illustrative Photo by Suzy Hazelwood: https://www.pexels.com/photo/four-pile-of-books-on-top-of-brown-wooden-surface-1290828/

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