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Author: Subject: Mercury Sulfide Being Sold as Medicine for Children
macckone
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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 08:22


I would be more concerned with breathing the dust than ingestion for the relatively insoluble sulfide. The hydrochloric acid in the stomach will leach some mercury (micrograms? or nanograms?) from the sulfide but unless there is continuous use it isn't going to result in mercury poisoning (WHO limit soluble mercury (Hg+2 and organomercury) 45ug/day). HgCl was used to treat various illnesses for centuries as was the sulfide. And they were somewhat effective. Apparently yellow fever was treated with mercurous chloride and there is anecdotal evidence that it saved lives. The reason it stopped being used in the us and europe is because we have safer and more effective antibiotics.

ps. soluble mercury is excreted at a rate of 50ug/day via the kidneys which is the reason for the 45ug/day limit.

EPA recommendation is eating fish with less than .16 ug/g which for a 4oz serving is about 18ug.


[Edited on 4-10-2018 by macckone]
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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 12:38


Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  
Understand that not all systems of medicine are based on the on the scientific method, nor do they need to be.

Chinese medicine isn't wrong, any more than oil painting or dancing or baseball is "wrong" for lacking a foundation in science. Yes, you can certainly find geometry in oil painting and physics in dancing or baseball. But they're not sciences. Aristotle's methods wouldn't stand modern scientific rigor but there was no mass European extinction until the plague during the middle-ages when the Catholic church was running the show. What we call science now is a philosophy and if you're honest you'll understand this is something that's open to change.


Seriously? Oil painting, dancing and baseball are done for pleasure. Medicine is used to heal people. There's a difference. If I have cancer or a broken arm, I want a method that is proven to work in order to treat it. I'm not going to go to an art museum to try to heal a broken bone, nor will I go dancing, or play baseball, or try balancing my chakras or subluxing my humours and meridians.




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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 13:02


Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  
Understand that not all systems of medicine are based on the on the scientific method, nor do they need to be.

Chinese medicine isn't wrong,


It's wrong on three related sets of grounds
First; it kills people.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4521244/
Killing people is wrong.

Secondly it kills other (endangered) creatures for no benefit
https://china-underground.com/2018/07/07/traditional-chinese...

And thirdly, it is fraud. it exploits sick people.

Why are you trying to defend the indefensible?



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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 14:10


unionized & draconicacid -
Yes, traditional chinese medicine has a lot of hokum.
But under the hokum there are actual treatments.
The challenge is separating the hokum from the real.

In this case mercury compounds do work in certain applications (intestinal and topical antiseptics). But we have less toxic medicines. So this falls in the category of no longer considered safe but isn't complete hokum.

[Edited on 4-10-2018 by macckone]
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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 15:55


Studies done with mice fed large amounts of mercuric sulfide have shown little to no sign of clinical toxicity, and if anyone has ever tried to get cinnabar to react via wet chemistry, they know that it is almost completely inert to strong acids and all but very hot concentrated alkalis, which react extremely slowly. You're probably better off worrying about the air and water you're exposed to everyday.
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[*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 16:35


HgS is really insoluble. But that is not the same thing as inert.
  • If it really is inert in the human body then this treatment cannot have any efficacy. It ranks with amber beads to alleviate symptoms of teething toddlers.
  • If it is not inert then it must involve introduction of Hg to the body's systems -- something that we know ought to be avoided.
    Either way, this is quackery that does not form the basis of sound medical practice -- no matter how long it has been done historically.

    I have no problems with sale of cinnabar on ebay. I do have a problem with the promotion of poor practice and even more so when the uptake is through a self-selection process combined with scientific ignorance.
    I also have problems with a product being marketed as something it is not. If this indeed is HgS then I would expect a higher price. If it is curcumin or some other such substance then it should not be advertised as cinnabar.

    This muddying of the waters does no one any favours -- least of all those who are looking for medical remedies and who lack the scientific nous to distinguish between woo and treatment. Consider someone enthusiastioc about the benefits of curcumin (which they believe to be cinnabar). It is a small step for them to start seeking something related but even more potent "natural" substance that contains soluble mercury compounds.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 19:28


    But can we all agree that the ebay seller is selling red turmeric, not HgS? It even says so in the description (curcuma) and has been explained a couple times in this thread.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 19:35


    Quote: Originally posted by happyfooddance  
    But can we all agree that the ebay seller is selling red turmeric, not HgS? It even says so in the description (curcuma) and has been explained a couple times in this thread.

    And Joe Average Woo-buyer thinks that turmeruc and cinnabar are the same thing. That is not good.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 20:33


    Mercury compounds don't fall under the category of 'woo'. Yes mercuric sulfide is relatively insoluble. It is not zero solubility. But mercury is only cumulative if you exceed 50ug/day as previously explained. Today we have better medicine as has also been previously explained. Mercuric sulfide and mercurous chloride did have actual medical uses when we didn't have better medicine. And if significant antibiotic resistance becomes the norm instead of the exception, we may find ourselves using mercury and borate compounds as antibiotics again.

    As for what is actually being sold, it isn't relevant to the discussion of rather we need to examine Chinese medical practices for actual cures and try to separate the woo from the science. It also is not relevant to the effectiveness of mercury compounds as antibiotics.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 20:54


    Quote: Originally posted by DraconicAcid  
    Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  
    Understand that not all systems of medicine are based on the on the scientific method, nor do they need to be.

    Chinese medicine isn't wrong, any more than oil painting or dancing or baseball is "wrong" for lacking a foundation in science. Yes, you can certainly find geometry in oil painting and physics in dancing or baseball. But they're not sciences. Aristotle's methods wouldn't stand modern scientific rigor but there was no mass European extinction until the plague during the middle-ages when the Catholic church was running the show. What we call science now is a philosophy and if you're honest you'll understand this is something that's open to change.


    Seriously? Oil painting, dancing and baseball are done for pleasure. Medicine is used to heal people. There's a difference. If I have cancer or a broken arm, I want a method that is proven to work in order to treat it. I'm not going to go to an art museum to try to heal a broken bone, nor will I go dancing, or play baseball, or try balancing my chakras or subluxing my humours and meridians.


    Traditional Chinese medicine isn't used to treat acute conditions like a heart attack or broken bones - it's focused on preventative care.

    If you have a stroke in China they're taking you to the ER. TCM is just a different philosophical approach to medicine, many of which certainly existed and were practiced before the age of reason to a high degree of success.


    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 21:02


    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

    I have no problems with sale of cinnabar on ebay.


    That's good, because a lot of other people here complain constantly about not being able to get certain chemicals, then complain about personal peeves sold on Ebay (OMG MERCURY AND ARSENIC!!! -- REPORTED!!!!).


    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 21:35


    Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
    Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  
    Understand that not all systems of medicine are based on the on the scientific method, nor do they need to be.

    Chinese medicine isn't wrong,


    It's wrong on three related sets of grounds
    First; it kills people.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4521244/
    Killing people is wrong.

    Secondly it kills other (endangered) creatures for no benefit
    https://china-underground.com/2018/07/07/traditional-chinese...

    And thirdly, it is fraud. it exploits sick people.

    Why are you trying to defend the indefensible?




    We have charlatans in the West peddling all kinds of fraudulent treatments for everything from cancer to weight loss to zits. These things are not exclusive to any particular culture or system of medicine. Turn your TV on at 2AM in the morning.

    "The problem with the police force is we have to recruit from the human race".

    -- Officer Joe Friday.

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 22:26


    Quote: Originally posted by macckone  
    Mercury compounds don't fall under the category of 'woo'.

    No, but this does:
    Quote:
    can be placed under the pillow or bed sheets, can play a sedative role, so that children can sleep safely, no longer crying.




    Quote: Originally posted by macckone  
    As for what is actually being sold, it isn't relevant to the discussion of [or?] rather we need to examine Chinese medical practices for actual cures and try to separate the woo from the science.


    Sure it's relevant. I see three problems here:


    1. The selling of items with misleading or false descriptions.
    2. The promotion of something as therapeutic when this is not scientifically backed: in this case (a) claiming a soothing effect for cinnabar treatment (unsubstantiated) and (b) claiming therapeutic benefit from being in proximity to the material.
    3. Possible cavalier attitude towards Hg compounds by the buying public because of scientific illiteracy and misleading communication.


    Then there is also the possible issue of purity (in the case that it is cinnabar). The naturally-occurring ore can contain mercury sulfide-chlorides as well as just HgS. I don't know the properties of these but I think it an unreasonable assumption to think that the risk profile is the same as the sulfide.

    The whole situation seems to me to be quite messy. I don't believe that it is in anyone's best interest to have turmeric, sold as cinnabar, to be placed under bed-sheets, to placate children. There is nothing in that scheme that is in any way justified.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 22:45


    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  

    No, but this does:
    Quote:
    can be placed under the pillow or bed sheets, can play a sedative role, so that children can sleep safely, no longer crying.



    I think this is a case of two people talking past each other --

    "Sedative role" is allegorical language. It's like a new-ager talking about "raising energy". The scientist would (rightfully) demand a physicist come into the room with instrumentation and try to measure this seemingly meaningless phenomenon. What is really being referred to, by the practitioner, is a sensation observed by people who practice mediation, of vibrations experienced in the body during these exercises. It's a real phenomenon, but it's experiential, not objective. But that doesn't mean these sensations aren't really experienced. There's no way to objectively measure this, and there's no coherent way to communicate this phenomenon to an objectivist.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 22:51


    You should look at the work of C. J. Jung who developed his ideas on personality typing based on Aristotelian philosophy, which eventually became the (discredited) philosophy of Meyers and Briggs, and has been recently re-evaluated and given a second consideration under a more rigorous lens --

    https://science.slashdot.org/story/18/09/18/2058226/people-t...
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 23:05


    Caveat emptor

    If you cannot 'caveat' then maybe the world would be a better place?

    We managed to reduce or eliminate human evolution through the miracle of modern medicine. However, humans manage to find new ways to kill themselves and each other (poor diet, fast cars, handheld electronics, etc.). For the sake of evolution, maybe the fear mongers and safety commandos can take a step back and let nature do its thing.
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 23:18


    [edit] @ Mr Rogers

    Same problem. There is not a linearity between objective scientific observation and justified conclusion leading to viable treatments.

    There may be elements of validity along the way. And certainly some features that warrant closer investigation. But the theory as a whole is flawed.

    Let's unpack the various implicit and explicit claims here:
  • Turmeric is the same as cinnabar.
  • The substance has therapeutic benefit.
  • The specific benefit is as a sedative suitable for children.
  • The benefit is imputed via proximity to the material.

    All of these claims are dubious at best. And it only requires one to be factually incorrect for a treatment scheme to be fallacious.
    Unfortunately, the gullible public may seize on any one of these claims, assume it is correct, and extrapolate from there to practices that are in fact dangerous.

    I am not disputing that there may be some antibiotic properties of Hg compounds. Nor am I suggesting that traditional practices are devoid of any validity. What I am saying is that this particular treatment is unscientific. The adoption of any of the espoused ideas by scientifically illiterate people has a reasonable chance of leading to harm. The promotion of this product in this fashion is riddled with falsities. Therefore this marketing is reprehensible.

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by j_sum1]
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 23:30


    Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
    [edit] @ Mr Rogers

    Same problem. There is not a linearity between objective scientific observation and justified conclusion leading to viable treatments.

    There may be elements of validity along the way. And certainly some features that warrant closer investigation. But the theory as a whole is flawed.

    Let's unpack the various implicit and explicit claims here:
  • Turmeric is the same as cinnabar.
  • The substance has therapeutic benefit.
  • The specific benefit is as a sedative suitable for children.
  • The benefit is imputed via proximity to the material.

    All of these claims are dubious at best. And it only requires one to be factually incorrect for a treatment scheme to be fallacious.
    Unfortunately, the gullible public may seize on any one of these claims, assume it is correct, and extrapolate from there to practices that are in fact dangerous.

    I am not disputing that there may be some antibiotic properties of Hg compounds. Nor am I suggesting that traditional practices are devoid of any validity. What I am saying is that this particular treatment is unscientific. The adoption of any of the espoused ideas by scientifically illiterate people has a reasonable chance of leading to harm. The promotion of this product in this fashion is riddled with falsities. Therefore this marketing is reprehensible.

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by j_sum1]


  • I certainly wouldn't put HgS in my kids crib.

    But I think the chance of some random person stumbling on this auction and following through on this "advice" is basically zilch. If you don't know what cinnabar is, you're not looking for it in the first place, and the people that are, aren't buying it for that reason.

    It was found *precisely* because someone on a chemistry forum was looking for mercury compounds, then became outraged when they found them.

    All this outrage and panic really serves to do is get one of the best avenues for chemicals shut down when people complain to Ebay about what are really non-issues in the first place.

    The person selling this isn't coming from a position of malicious intent. There's just cultural differences and again, I think it's a lot of people talking past each other.

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
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    [*] posted on 4-10-2018 at 23:52


    Anyhow, it's easy to determine if your HgS is tumeric.

    If you got bunk chems, complain to the seller or Paypal and they'll refund your money. As a seller I can assure you both of these entities favor the buyer.

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
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    [*] posted on 5-10-2018 at 00:54
    This topic should be relocated - to detritus.


    The item category :

    Crafts>Multi-Purpose Craft Supplies>Other Multi-Purpose Crafting

    The item title :

    10/30g Natural Powdered Cinnabar Pigment Powder Evil Talisman Taoists

    If you buy cinnabar pigment for crafts, what do expect - toxic mercury compounds ?
    ... turmeric/curcuma.
    ________________
    Then there is the description :

    Specification: 100% Brand new and high quality
    Material: Cinnabar Powder
    Color: Red
    Features: Curcuma can be placed under the pillow or bed sheets, can play a sedative role, so that children can sleep safely, no longer crying.


    The claimed benefits of Curcuma ... why Curcuma if selling HgS ?

    Many pigments are named due to the colour, not the ingredients.

    Did anyone buy the product and find it did not work as a pigment,
    or found it ineffective against Taoist magic,
    or it did not help your child to sleep safely without crying ?

    Last but not least,
    a competent SM member has previously reported on the lack of mercury in this type of product.


    How embarrassing to have one SM member email their national Health and Safety people on this issue and another report it to eBay :P

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Sulaiman]
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    [*] posted on 5-10-2018 at 01:13


    Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  

    Specification: 100% Brand new and high quality


    That's disappointing, actually, because I prefer my mercury to be finely aged, like a good port.

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    [*] posted on 5-10-2018 at 02:15


    Quote: Originally posted by Mr. Rogers  

    We have charlatans in the West peddling all kinds of fraudulent treatments for everything from cancer to weight loss to zits.

    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Mr. Rogers]


    Nobody said it was.

    What does that have to do with the issue?
    Are you saying that people claiming to be Chinese should be permitted to poison people because it's traditional?
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    [*] posted on 5-10-2018 at 02:28


    Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  


    The claimed benefits of Curcuma ... why Curcuma if selling HgS ?


    [Edited on 5-10-2018 by Sulaiman]


    Why claim "bath salts" or "plant food" if selling synthetic cannabinoids?
    Maybe it's because people want to buy stuff that's banned.

    Also, curcuma isn't red, so the one thing we can be fairly sure from the picture is that the stuff's not curcuma unless it has been adulterated with something.

    The point remains, even if the stuff isn't HgS or anything else that's significantly toxic, they still shouldn't be selling it as a sedative for kids, because that's fraud
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    [*] posted on 5-10-2018 at 03:14


    Quote: Originally posted by OldNubbins  
    Caveat emptor
    We managed to reduce or eliminate human evolution through the miracle of modern medicine.


    That is not true. We changed the original direction of evolution. The fact the genetic pool is changing means it is evolving. Evolution actually does say something about the direction of genetic pool change, namely it is changing in a way that benefits survival in a new environment.

    Changing the environment like modern medicine is doing apparently gives some genes a better chance for survival. We didn't stop evolution, we changed its direction.
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    [*] posted on 5-10-2018 at 10:03


    Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
    ...curcuma isn't red, so the one thing we can be fairly sure from the picture is that the stuff's not curcuma unless it has been adulterated with something...

    Red curcuma is a very common thing in cooking and ceremonial body art. Old chem books will tell you about 'curcuma papers' as pH papers. Yellow for acid, red for base. In cooking and bindi turmeric powder is processed with food grade lime to turn it red.
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