Calcium arsenate is the inorganic compound with the formula Ca3(AsO4)2. A colourless solid, it was originally used as a pesticide and as a germicide. It is highly soluble in water, as compared with lead arsenate, which makes it more toxic. The minerals Rauenthalite Ca3(AsO4)2·10H2O and Phaunouxite Ca3(AsO4)2·11H2O are hydrates of calcium arsenate.
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||398.072 g/mol|
|Density||3.62 g/cm3, solid|
|Melting point||1,455 °C (2,651 °F; 1,728 K) (decomposes)|
|0.013 g/100 mL (25 °C)|
|Solubility in Organic solvents||insoluble|
|Solubility in acids||soluble|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):|
LD50 (median dose)
|20 mg/kg (rat, oral)|
812 mg/kg (rat, oral)
794 mg/kg (mouse, oral)
50 mg/kg (rabbit, oral)
38 mg/kg (dog, oral)
|NIOSH (US health exposure limits):|
|TWA 0.010 mg/m3|
|Ca C 0.002 mg/m3 [15-minute]|
IDLH (Immediate danger)
|5 mg/m3 (as As)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Calcium arsenate is commonly prepared from disodium hydrogen arsenate and calcium chloride:
- 2 Na2H[AsO4] + 3 CaCl2 → 4 NaCl + Ca3[AsO4]2 + 2 HCl
In the 1920s, it was made in large vats by mixing calcium oxide and arsenic oxide. In the United States, 1360 metric tons were produced in 1919, 4540 in 1920, and 7270 in 1922. The composition of commercially available calcium arsenate varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. A typical composition is 80-85% of Ca3(AsO4)2 a basic arsenate probably with a composition of 4CaO.As2O5 together with calcium hydroxide and calcium carbonate.
Use as a herbicide
It was once a common herbicide and insecticide. 38,000,000 kilograms were reported to be produced in 1942 alone, mainly for protection of cotton crops. Its high toxicity led the development of DDT.
Calcium arsenate use is now banned in the UK, and its use is strictly regulated in the United States. It is currently the active ingredient in TURF-Cal manufactured by Mallinckrodt, it is one of the few herbicides – used mainly for the control of Poa annua and crabgrass- that hinders earthworm activity. Its label states that it will "reduce and inhibit earthworm activity and survival" and is only recommended against serious earthworm infestations in places such as golf course greens.
Toxicity and regulation
Calcium arsenate is highly toxic, having both carcinogenic and systemic health effects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set a permissible exposure limit at 0.01 mg/m3 over an eight-hour time-weighted average, while the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends a limit five times less (0.002 mg/m3).
It is classified as an extremely hazardous substance in the United States as defined in Section 302 of the U.S. Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C. 11002), and is subject to strict reporting requirements by facilities which produce, store, or use it in significant quantities.
- Tartar, H.V.; Wood, L; Hiner, E; A Basic Arsenate of Calcium. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1924, vol. 46, 809-813.
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. "#0089". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- "Calcium arsenate (as As)". Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health Concentrations (IDLH). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- Ropp, Richard (2012). Encyclopedia of the Alkaline Earth Compounds. Newnes. p. 76. ISBN 0444595538.
- Smith, C.M.; Murray, C.W.; The Composition of Commercial Calcium Arsenate. Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry; 1931, 23
- Robert L. Metcalf "Insect Control" in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002. doi:10.1002/14356007.a14_263
- Koval, C.F. "Turf insect pest control guide: Urban Phytonarian Series" (PDF). College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- Tchounwou, P.B.; Patlolla, A.K.; Centeno, J.A.; Carcinogenic and Systematic Health Effects Associated with Arsenic – A Critical Review. Toxicologic Pathology; 2003, 31, 575-588
- "Calcium Arsenate". NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "40 C.F.R.: Appendix A to Part 355—The List of Extremely Hazardous Substances and Their Threshold Planning Quantities" (PDF) (1 July 2008 ed.). Government Printing Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011. Cite journal requires