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Does arsenic have a funny smell?

(12 Posts)
GentleOtter Mon 04-Jul-11 11:02:31

The paint has fallen off the dampest wall in our house and there is a green coating underneath with fluffy crystals. It smells awful. Sort of chemically/ oniony smell.

This paint was painted straight on to the concrete walls at the turn of c1900 and is a dull green colour.

Could it contain arsenic and if so, where can we get it tested? Every surface of this dividing wall is painted with it.

I have phoned Environmental Health but cannot get past the receptionist.

Mandy2003 Mon 04-Jul-11 17:23:03

This rang some very faint bells with me, possibly from one of the house history (maybe improvement) TV programmes. You could try having a look on Money Saving Expert, they seem to have come across many DIY things on there.

But have a look at this - I hope it's not in your case!

halfbabyhalfbiscuit Mon 04-Jul-11 17:45:13

Can smell of garlic - also see this www.popularscience.co.uk/features/feat17.htm

No idea where you can get it tested but I'd be concerned about sleeping in the rooms affected

GentleOtter Mon 04-Jul-11 17:49:18

Mandy, thank you. that article was an extremely interesting read but a bit of a worry as well.
The wall has recently gone very weird but the smell is absolutely sickening. I am trying to find out where a sample can be tested to find out what this stuff is - the entire front of the house is painted in it.

GentleOtter Mon 04-Jul-11 17:55:58

Oh, Good God.
halfbaby's link mentions a place not far away from here. The front part of this house (c1800) is fully papered with green paper which was papered on top in 1936 and has never been done since.

microserf Tue 05-Jul-11 07:43:08

i had a concern about lead paint and a complete cunt of a negligent painter hired by my landlord who sanded white victorian window paint all over my daughter's toys while we were in rented property.

i managed to find a lab to test the paint residue for me. there was a little bit of lead, but within guidelines (although the lab tech told me some horror stories about victorian houses and their white exterior and interior window paints, inlcuding one decorator who ended up with acute lead poisoning in hospital).

it did cost quite a bit - £200 sad but at the time it was essential for my peace of mind. could you google local chemical testing labs?if you are in London, I can look up the lab details for you, i still have them. alt, they accept samples by post?

sorry you're having this stress, mine was a less urgent case but i still lost a lot of sleep.

microserf Tue 05-Jul-11 07:44:04

sorry, i meant to say - they definitely do accept samples by post.

GentleOtter Tue 05-Jul-11 10:25:43

Environmental health phoned back this morning and have promised to phone back....confused

Our nearest lab would be either Aberdeen or Glasgow and if it means paying for a test then there will be peace of mind plus a pointer as to how to deal with whatever the hell this green fluffy stuff is.

It is a pita as the wall is the main throughfare but we are sleeping somewhere else until the substance is identified.

GentleOtter Tue 05-Jul-11 17:03:31

Environmental health think it is a lead and arsenic paint which has been disturbed by the water coming in. Health and Safety plus a contamination person are coming soon.

Mandy2003 Tue 05-Jul-11 17:28:38

Oh sad - hope it gets sorted quickly without too much expense

GentleOtter Tue 05-Jul-11 18:59:22

Thanks, on the bright side, we will never get hiccups.

I am really upset and shocked. It could have been avoided if the bloody roof had been repaired seven years ago when we asked initially.

halfbabyhalfbiscuit Tue 05-Jul-11 19:50:23

oh no, sorry to hear this. hope you are all safe and well and that this is resolved quickly.

Well done for realizing what the problem was though!

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