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  1. #1
    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    mercury was retorted from cinnabar

    Does "mercury was retorted from cinnabar" mean "mercury was distilled from cinnabar"?

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    Because of its mercury content, cinnabar can be toxic to human beings. Though people in ancient South America often used cinnabar for art, or processed it into refined mercury (as a means to gild silver and gold to objects) "the toxic properties of mercury were well known. It was dangerous to those who mined and processed cinnabar, it caused shaking, loss of sense, and death. Data suggest that mercury was retorted from cinnabar and the workers were exposed to the toxic mercury fumes."[19][page needed] Overexposure to mercury, mercurialism, was seen as an occupational disease to the ancient Romans: "Mining in the Spanish cinnabar mines of Almadén, 225 km (140 mi) southwest of Madrid, was regarded as being akin to a death sentence due to the shortened life expectancy of the miners, who were slaves or convicts."[20]

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  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: mercury was retorted from cinnabar

    This is a technical question. Yes, a "retort" is a place where chemical processes are carried out. Yes, it's something like distilling.

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