In 1832 the British chemist James Marsh was asked to provide evidence in a murder trial where a man had been poisoned by his grandson using arsenic. Due to limitations in the testing technique for arsenic at the time, the suspect was acquitted. This prompted Marsh to consider a new way of detecting poisons.
In 1836 he developed the Marsh test for arsenic. Arsenic had been virtually undetectable before this because its symptoms were similar to those of cholera, which was widespread at the time due to poor sanitation.
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