Arsenic was virtually undetectable until the marsh test was developed. The test was able to detect the presence of arsenic in drinks and food. The marsh test is a highly sensitive method in the detection of arsenic. It was developed by the chemist James Marsh and first published in 1836.
Arsenic is odorless, easily incorporated into food and drink, and before the marsh test, untraceable in the body. In France, arsenic came to be known as poudre de succession("inheritance powder").