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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000079.txt from 1996/04

From: "Scott D. Morrow" <SDM@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Death by clarinet!
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 1996 15:41:30 -0500

>Any of you chemistry people out there want to try your hand at metallurgy?
>I have been playing for several years now with an uncorked (bare metal)
>thumbrest. I found that I simply preferred it - it holds better and is
>not uncomfortable for me in the least.
>The downside is that it turns my thumb a truly amazing shade of bright
>green. Someone noticed this and said that the metal was probably
>penetrating my skin and that I would get blood poisoning and die. I'm
>quite serious about this - no belated April Fool's for me! Is this
>tarnish potentially harmful? The metal itself is pinkish in color so I
>would assume it's copper-based.
>What think you, oh wise science-type guys?
>Jacqueline Eastwood
>University of Arizona/Arizona Opera Orchestra

It certainly sounds like copper! Copper oxidizes to a nice green (that's
why the Statue of Liberty is the colour it is!). My qualified guess is
that the oxide is just rubbing off onto your thumb, and that you shouldn't
worry about getting poisoned through your skin (I'll leave THAT analysis to
the doctors on this list!), though I WOULD suggest you wash your hands
before eating after playing!


Scott D. Morrow
Department of Biochemistry
School of Hygiene and Public Health
Johns Hopkins University

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