Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Letter F: The Choose Your Poison #AtoZChallenge

 "PET-MIPS-anim" by Jens Maus (http://jens-maus.de/) - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

   Fluorine is a pale yellow gas with an irritating odor. It is shipped as a cryogenic (frozen) liquid. It is toxic when breathed in or absorbed through the skin, and is also irritating to eyes and mucus membranes. Elemental fluorine is highly toxic to all living organisms. Hydrofluoric acid, the water solution of hydrogen fluoride, is a liquid contact poison. Even though it is classified as a "weak" acid, it is far more dangerous than the better-known nitric, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids because it penetrates tissue much more quickly.

    For you writers, here are some interesting twists. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident; the delay can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours, and the burns may not be painful since the acid damages nerves.

    Plenty of time for a villain to make a getaway.

    Like some other poisons, fluorine has a life-saving use in the medical field. Fluorine-18, an isotope of fluorine, is often found in radioactive tracers for Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan). The most common tracer is fluorodeoxyglucose which, after IV injection, is absorbed by glucose-loving tissues such as the brain and most malignant tumors. (See very cool PET scan image above.)
     It has a half-life of about 109.771 (which is about 20 minutes). So after your scan you won't stay radioactive forever. Or am I the only one who worries about these things?
    

16 comments:

  1. As a writer, I often think someone would cringe if they saw my search history. Now to get this into one of my stories! (Visiting from A to Z Blog Challenge)

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    1. LOL I thought about that! Searches and bookmarks for poison, murder, deadly toxins, stalkers...
      Thanks for visiting! I'm a little behind schedule, hope to catch up on visits tomorrow. :)

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  2. Interesting - is it related to flouride in water?

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    1. Good question! Fluorine is an element, the fluoride in water and toothpaste is a compound containing fluorine (sodium fluoride).

      So, is drinking too much fluoridated water or swallowing toothpaste dangerous? Yes, if it's in large doses and/or high concentration. In low concentrations, it's safe and beneficial to teeth and bones.

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  3. Very cool. The wheels are turning. lol =D

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    1. Good luck! I couldn't think of anything, hence the informative article rather than a flash. :)

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  4. F is for fascinating ! I was also going to ask the toothpaste question but see that's been done. Genuinely interesting reading these posts

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    1. I guess that's why there's a warning on the paste tube about children under the age of 2.

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  5. So interesting Lisa - I feel like I'm having a science lesson and am paying attention too ^_^

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    1. Thanks Helen! That's the best way to learn things - by being entertained!

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  6. nice lessons for wannabe villains, no?

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    1. Indeed. There are also hundreds of murder mysteries at the library and on Amazon. The resources for evil are endless.

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  7. I like watching the pet scan. Hmm, fluoride scares me now.

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  8. Ooooh, a handy tool to put in the villain's box of tricks, thanks!

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