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Poisoner's Handbook  Quiz

True/False
Indicate whether the statement is true or false.
 

 1. 

All chemicals, whether natural or synthetic, have the potential to be hazardous to humans.
 

 2. 

Two people accidentally ingest the same dose of a cyanide.  One person is very large (over two hundred pounds) the second person is quite small (less than 120 pounds.)  Nonetheless, the effect of the two people is the same.
 

 3. 

A tell-tale sign of CO poisoning is blue lips
 

Multiple Choice
Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.
 

 4. 

A person has been poisoned with arsenic  in their food has been poisoned by
a.
inhalation
c.
ingestion
b.
absorption
d.
exposure
 

 5. 

Methyl alcohol is make the destructive distillation of
a.
grain
c.
paint
b.
wood
d.
other alcohols
 

 6. 

When Tetraethyl Lead was added to gasoline it was marketed as ethyl.  Why was lead dropped from the name?
a.
Once the gasoline was burned lead was no longer present in the gasoline.
c.
Standard oil throught tetra ethyl lead was just too long of a name to fit on their bill boards.
b.
Lead was a radioactive material that quickly decayed into Uranium.
d.
Lead was a known and feared toxin.
 

 7. 

Gettler, along with the police, were able to build a solid case that the Jackson’s (an older couple) were poisoned by Hydrogen Cyanide gas used in their building while fumigating for rats.  Yet, no one was convicted in their deaths.  At the time Gettler could not...
a.
able to find evidence of cyanide poisoning
c.
able to conclusively prove that cyanide is not a natural byproduct of decomposition
b.
able to show that fumes from a fumigation could permeate their room
d.
convince the jury that the death was anything but accidental
 

 8. 

A body is found horribly burned after a house fire.  After looking at the body medical examiners are quickly able to determine that they person had been killed before the fire began.  Most likely they had observed...
a.
blood that was bright read and skin flushed pink
c.
when the tissue was boiled it caused a black film to appear on a copper plate
b.
no evidence of Carbon Monoxide in the blood
d.
the smell of formaldehyde on the victims breath and blood
 

 9. 

A man is given small doses of arsenic over long period of time by his sister.  What effects  will the arsenic have over time.
a.
killing the man slowly over time in a manner that may appear to be death by natural causes
c.
low doses of arsenic will have very little affect
b.
allow the person to develop immunity to the arsenic
d.
the man will most likely start to show signs of dementia behaving highly erratic
 

 10. 

In the Poisoner’s Handbook, Charles Norris was a _______________ and Alexander Gettler was a ____________.
a.
toxicologist/ pathologist
c.
medical examiner/ toxicologist
b.
toxicologist/ medical examiner
d.
chemist/ doctor
 

 11. 

All of the following poisons could be found in a nursing dispensary of the early 1900’s, except?
a.
sugar of lead
c.
arsenic
b.
chloroform
d.
Tetraethyl Lead
 

 12. 

Chloroform as a poison is...
a.
slow and painful
c.
quick and effective
b.
ineffective against most people
d.
leaves few traces on the victim
 

 13. 

A doctor in the late 1800’s did an experiment upon himself, taking a low dose of potassium cyanide.  What he learned about how cyanide kills.
a.
cyanide robs the cells of oxygen, he nearly suffocated to death
c.
cyanide burns the insides of the throat and lungs
b.
cyanide at low doses, is not lethal, and can be used as a safe sedative
d.
cyanide leads to rapid mutation of the DNA and causes cells to self-destruct
 

 14. 

What does a positive Prussian Blue test looks like and what does it test for
a.
flash of blue, arsenic
c.
flash of blue, cyanide
b.
prolonged green, cyanide
d.
red color, lead
 

 15. 

Charles Norris introduced three radical ideas to the Medical Examiners office.  Which of these is not a way in which he improved the office.
a.
he hired actual scientists
c.
he created a “pay for cause of death” system, so that well of relatives could dictate how their loved ones died
b.
he required records be kept on each body that came through the audience
d.
he required that members of his staff testifying in court only testify from written records not their memory
 

 16. 

In the early 1900’s arsenic could easily be found in
a.
rat poisoning
c.
skin tonic
b.
weed killer
d.
yup, arsenic could be found in all of these
 

 17. 

What do we know to be true of the Shelbourn Bakery poisonings that killed six and sent sixty to the hospital in 1922?
a.
the baker did it
c.
it was done in revenge against the owner
b.
arsenic was the poison
d.
a carbon monoxide leak was the poison
 

 18. 

The famous “blue man” made himself blue through the ingestion of silver nitrate.  When he died, there was enough silver in his body for the scientists in the medical examiners’ office to make a silver bullet for Gettler.  The irony of his death was that.
a.
The cause of death was mercury ingestion.
c.
The cause of death was the silver nitrate.
b.
The cause of death was alcohol poisoning.
d.
The cause of death was pneumonia.
 

 19. 

Standard Oil’s “looney gas building” was producing a gas adative that stopped knocking in car engines” it was called.
a.
methyl mercury
c.
tetraethyl lead
b.
carbon dioxide
d.
hydrogen cyanide
 

 20. 

The medical examiner’s office noted that anyone handling too much tetraethyl lead developed
a.
goiters and loss of their teeth
c.
blue skin
b.
mental deterioration, memory loss, and fits of rage
d.
cancer and hair loss
 

 21. 

How is carbon monoxide considered “a chemical thug”?
a.
Red blood cells have a higher affinity for it than oxygen robbing the cells of oxygen
c.
It causes red blood cells to self destruct
b.
It blocks carbon dioxide from leaving the blood, acidifying the blood
d.
It has a sharp metallic taste and it chemically pierces red blood cells.
 

 22. 

What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?
a.
vomiting, convulsions, difficulty breathing
c.
black nails, black tongue, blue skin
b.
blue skin, bleeding from the mouth
d.
pink flush of the skin, bright red color of the blood
 

 23. 

Francesco Travia is accused of murdering and then cutting up Anna Fredericksen.  How did Norris and Gettler demonstrate that she was not, in fact, murdered.
a.
she had signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and they  were able to show you can’t take in CO after death
c.
they were able to show that she committed suicide
b.
they were able to show that she died of natural causes
d.
she had signs of a bacterial infection, and they were able to show that she died of pneumonia
 

 24. 

mc024-1.jpg
Select which of the following statements is the best caption for the graph above.
a.
alcohol is dangerous at any dosage
c.
the higher the dosage of alcohol the more drunk someone gets
b.
driving under the influence is extremely dangerous
d.
the bodies response to alcohol changes with increasing dosage
 

 25. 

Which of the following elements is most similar to Arsenic (As) in its chemical behavior.  Gettler found this chemical was the real cause of death for Mary Francis Creighton’s mother-in-law.
a.
Bi
c.
Ga
b.
Pb
d.
K
 

 26. 

Which of the following poisons that we learned about in the Poisoner’s Handbook is the only one that can poison someone through exposure
a.
carbon monoxide
c.
thallium
b.
radium
d.
cyanide
 

 27. 

What is the formula for chloroform?
a.
CHCl3
c.
(CH3)2OH
b.
CO
d.
Ra
 

 28. 

Which of the following is true of ethyl alcohol but not methyl alcohol
a.
CH3OH
c.
its distilled from grains or sugary produce
b.
its distilled from wood or sawdust
d.
ethyl alcohol is metabolized more slowly and methyl alcohol
 

 29. 

Which of the following symptoms did Amelia Magia not demonstrate
a.
brittle bones
c.
bleeding
b.
weight loss
d.
asthma attacks
 

 30. 

Amelia Magia and the other women who worked at US Radium  became known as the “radium girls” because
a.
They worked at a factory painting radium on watches so they would glow and could be seen at night
c.
They discovered radium
b.
They were marketing radium as a health product
d.
They taught about radium and other elements to college students
 

 31. 

What was the particularly harmful behavior that the dial-painter girls participated in at the factory which spread the absorption of radium into the body?
a.
Putting radium in their coffee and tea
c.
Sewing radium into soldiers uniforms.
b.
Mining radium.
d.
Sharpening the points of their brushes with their tongues and lips. 
 

 32. 

Was Frederick Gross guilty of murdering his wife and children with Thallium?
a.
no his wife poisoned the children and then died of encephalitis.
c.
yes, he poisoned them with cocoa tainted with Thallium
b.
no his family was accidentally poisoned by tainted cocoa
d.
yes, he hated his kids and he cut them all up
 
 

Metals can have different species with different amounts of charge and these charged atoms easily and quickly form complexes with enzymes and other biological molecules. The amount of charge also affects how easily the metal can get into cells. Iron, for example, in the Fe++ species, cannot cross membranes very easily. This restricts where it can go in the body. Hg+ can easily penetrate membranes and is quickly distributed around the body.

If you look at a periodic table, you will see that most metals are located near each other. This means that they behave similarly and one can easily replace periodic tableone another in a protein or molecule. This is called mimicry and it may result in health problems. For example, lead, a toxic metal, tends to get stored in the bones because it mimics calcium, a metal that is a major component of healthy, normal bones.

Another example of mimicry occurs in the "engine" of the cells. A molecule called "ATP" is one of the major energy sources for all of our cells. It has three phosphate (PO4) molecules in it. Phosphate contains the metal phosphorus (P). When it is metabolized it provides energy and phosphate (PO4) which is used all over the body.


Another metal, arsenic (As), can mimic phosphorus in ATP. When this happens, the product of the reaction is ADP + AsO4. The AsO4 is not useful, compared to PO4, because it cannot be used to produce energy.
 

 33. 

Which of the following is not a metal that can cause health problems when ingested
a.
iron
c.
lead
b.
arsenic
d.
mercury
 

 34. 

Radium is absorbed into the bones and replaces the calcium that should naturally be there. This is called
a.
poisoning
c.
radiation
b.
mimicry
d.
phosphorolation
 

 35. 

Which of the following is a potential source for carbon monoxide poisoning
a.
Leaded gasoline
c.
broken appliances that incompletely burn natural gas or oil, such as furnaces or stoves
b.
Radium watches
d.
rat poison
 

 36. 

Toxicologists say the dose makes the poison.  Who took the largest dose of asprin?
a.
an adult woman who weighs 125 lb and took 300 mg of aspirin     
c.
a baby who weighs 20 lb and took 100 mg of aspirin
b.
a teenage boy who weighs 135 lb and took 600 mg of aspirin
d.
a chihuahua who weighs 5 lb and took 50 mg of aspirin
 

 37. 

Below is a dose hazard curve for ethyl alchol.  Most hazardous substances exhibit a "dose-response relationship."  What does this mean? 

mc037-1.jpg
a.
The harm caused by the hazard increases as dose increases.
c.
Exposure to the hazard always results in harm.
b.
It does not matter how big a dose you receive, you will always have same amount of harm/sickness.
d.
Fifty percent of the people will die when exposed to 0.1 mg/kg.
 

 38. 

You may have heard that metals are toxic and indeed many are toxic at the right dose. But there are also many metals which are essential to human life in the correct dose. Some examples of metals that we cannot live without are sodium (Na), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), molybdenum (Mo), manganese (Mn), and tin (Sn).

Metal:                            Function:
cobalt (Co)                 core of vitamin B12 (required to make blood cells)
copper (Cu)                 part of redox enzymes used in defense against oxidative damage
sodium (Na)                 important for nerve function
calcium (Ca)                  part of bones; important for blood clotting
potassium (K)                  essential for nerve and heart function
zinc (Zn)                   part of dozens of enzymes
molybdenum (Mo)      found nitrogen fixation and reduction enzymes
iron (Fe)                  found in hemoglobin and other enzymes

As you can see, metals are essential to many functions in the body. They can also be toxic. For example, arsenic (As) can be incorporated in to ATP, so it interferes with the cells ability to produce and use energy.
cobalt dose-response curve It all depends on the dose. For example, cobalt is an essential metal for humans. People who don't get enough cobalt in their diet have trouble making enough red blood cells. Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12 which helps in the process of making red blood cells. Without enough red blood cells, anemia develops. People with anemia experience symptoms of tiredness, weakness and listlessness.

Which of the following is NOT a normal function/role of metal in the body?

a.
arsenic in ATP
c.
calcium in bones
b.
cobalt in Vitamin B12
d.
iron in the heme of hemoglobin
 

Yes/No
Indicate whether you agree with the statement.
 

 39. 

Have you checked to see if you have a working CO detector in your house?
 

Matching
 
 
Match the poison to its affect in the human body
a.
Causes intense vomiting, blindness, and eventually death, caused thousands of deaths during prohibition
d.
causes a pink flush of the skin and turns the blood bright red
b.
mimics calcium in the body leading to  bones that are brittle
e.
tasteless, odorless, can be easily placed in food and when given in small amounts over time will give the appearance of a natural death
c.
particularly deadly when inhaled as a gas, forms a characteristic blue around the mouth and lips
 

 40. 

radium
 

 41. 

methanol
 

 42. 

carbon monoxide
 

 43. 

arsenic
 

 44. 

cyanide
 
 
Match the poison the lab technique used by Gettler to identify it
a.
a hot copper wire causes it to produce the smell of formaldehyde
d.
the marsh test, black precipitate on a copper plate
b.
Prussian blue test
e.
unique spectrum lines to distinguish it from copper
c.
higher evaporation point than arsenic
f.
lights up photographic paper
 

 45. 

Cyanide
 

 46. 

Methanol
 

 47. 

Arsenic
 

 48. 

Bismuth
 

 49. 

Radium
 

 50. 

Thallium
 



 
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