What contaminant is affecting my co-worker an me?

I work in a small office (tech start-up) in Paris with about 12 other people. Today, one of my co-workers mentioned that he had been experiencing a lingering metallic taste and was wondering what might have caused it. I later noticed the same sensation which has persisted for about 12 hours now. I also recall experiencing it yesterday now that I think about it. I have no other symptoms as of yet.

Other pertinent information:

  • our building has been undergoing a long restoration of the outer facade, there are construction workers present every day
  • many of us go-to the same bakery for snacks/lunch
  • we use a Nexpresso coffee machine

Any guesses as to what the most likely cause of this problem is?

Is your coffeemaker hooked up to a water line, or do you pour bottled water into it, or … some other option? Do you drink water while you’re working, and if so, is it from a tap or faucet, or do you bring in bottled water or … some other option?

Cuz my WAG is the construction work is affecting the water lines somehow.

purplehorseshoe: thanks for your idea! We pour tap water into the coffee maker but here are the problems with your theory:

  • the construction, although intense, appears to only relate to the buildings facade
  • I think lots od employees use the machine but only two of us have this persistent metallic sensation

Have you eaten anything with pine nuts lately?
Inferior pine nuts seem to have an astringent aftertase that can last for some time, even days.

Doesn’t arsenic leave a metal aftertaste? Or maybe it’s thallium? Is one of your co-workers a poisoner:confused:

Maybe they’re being fed contaminated fish, which would make the hypothetical coworker a poissonier. They ARE in Paris, after all…


Of course it’s arsenic, Andrea_Green. Likely from copper(II) acetoarsenite. a toxic emerald-green crystalline powder used as a rodenticide and insecticide. Its common name is Paris Green. Andrea_Green, Paris Green, Paris, France. It all fits.

Have you smelled bitter almonds lately?

Maybe you both take the same medication. Some meds cause this.

That’s why I had the chicken.

I had the lasagna.


Rust water pipes, likely.

But go to your MD.