Arsenic in Drinking Water - Know More about Arsenic and Its Sources

arsenic in drinking water

We all know that arsenic is a poisonous chemical capable of killing not only animals and pests but also humans. Arsenic is a metalloid that can either be organic and inorganic in composition. Organic arsenic is naturally found in the environment provided by Mother Nature itself. At the same time, inorganic arsenic is made by man and human waste materials such as chemicals and metals.

Inorganic arsenic is the most toxic and lethal chemical compared to organic arsenic because man produced these chemicals combined with other chemical compounds that are poisonous as well. Though wherever and however you look at it, both inorganic and organic arsenic is toxic and toxic.

Organic arsenic is naturally found in groundwater and surface water used and as a source of drinking water. Some arsenic compounds are found in marine organisms and the natural flora of marine water. Most of the time, arsenic is caused by volcanic activity and is the main source of arsenic, and due to volatilization in low temperatures, arsenic was naturally produced.

Arsenic can also be made by man that is called inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is caused by the mining, smelting of alloys and can also be found in agricultural chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs.

Unaware sometimes, arsenic can also be found at home. Arsenic, deadly as it is, is used as a chemical additive in pesticides to control pests. Arsenic is an effective chemical to kill pests such as a rodent, ants, cockroaches, and larvae. It can also kill snails that have been infesting the plants, both agricultural and plants found at home.

According to the World Health Organization, a non-government agency, arsenic is one of the major causes of poisoning and death since arsenic is naturally found in groundwater that is somewhat the source of drinking water by some undeveloped countries in the world.

How Can I Be Exposed To Arsenic?

 

Since arsenic is a natural aspect of our environment, everybody is exposed to limited amounts. The significant source of arsenic exposure in drinking water contains increased levels of arsenic. Different sources of arsenic exposure include: 

  • foods containing traces of arsenic 
  • smoke from wood, coal, tobacco products
  • dust from some industrial processes
  • Pesticides
  • anti-parasitic veterinary medicines
  • folk remedies 
  • some treated lumber 

Individuals who are exposed to arsenic over a time of years can encounter different health issues. Arsenic can be handily absorbed into the human system by drinking contaminated water or by inhaling airborne particulates. As a rule, it is safe to use water that contains arsenic to wash and for household chores. Arsenic is not handily absorbed through the skin and does not evaporate from the water into the air.

Public Drinking Water Standard

Arsenic is controlled in public drinking water systems by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a most acceptable limit, known as a maximum contaminant level (MCL). It has been set up for it to ensure against long-term exposure. 
For a long time, the MCL for total arsenic was 50 ppb. During the 1990s, in any case, new investigations drive in the technologies for distinguishing minute concentrations of contaminants, and appropriate therapies permitted regulators to bring down the MCL and give improved general well-being protection from chronic health impacts. Another standard of 10 ppb got effective on January 23, 2006.

The Effects of Arsenic on Our Health

Since arsenic is naturally found in groundwater and some are caused by man and chemical waste materials, we can conclude that arsenic is also one of the causes of pollution and contamination of land, air, and water.

When an individual is exposed to arsenic, symptoms of poisoning occur. Depending on the severity of exposure, the initial symptoms of arsenic poisoning are confusion, severe diarrhea, headache, and drowsiness.

Severe diarrhea, when left untreated, leads to dehydration due to a large amount of water from the body is excreted compared to the amount of water being taken. When arsenic poisoning develops to a severity, convulsions and fingernail pigmentation occurs.

This pigmentation present in fingernails is medically called Leukonychia Striata. When left untreated and becomes acute, the symptoms of acute arsenic poisoning are nausea and vomiting, blood in the urine occurs, as well as hematemesis or vomiting of blood, medically known as alopecia or hair loss, muscle cramps, and stomach pains develops. When left untreated, arsenic poisoning can lead to brain damage and sometimes can lead to death.

Long-term arsenic ingestion from drinking water is highly associated with a greater risk of skin cancer. There is substantial evidence that it increases the risk for cancers of the bladder, lung, kidney, liver, colon, and prostate.

If you have ingested water that has been contaminated by arsenic, the possible effect on your health will rely on the following factors:
• How much arsenic you have been exposed to.
• How long and how often you have been exposed.
• The type of arsenic you have been exposed to.
• Your health, nutrition, age, and lifestyle.
It is potential for some people to be impacted by lower levels of arsenic than others. Young children, the elderly, people with long-term illnesses, and unborn babies are at higher risk. However, arsenic is not transmitted through breast milk to babies.

What is the Amount of Arsenic That Can Lethally Affect Our Health?

According to the World Health Organization, the estimated dose of arsenic that can cause poisoning is 70 to 200 mg or 1 mg/kg/day. This dosage also depends on who will consume it. If it were to be consumed by children, the dose of 70 mg is already toxic to their health that the initial symptoms can occur.

What about the adults? Well, since adults are already exposed to certain pollutants and chemicals that are present in the environment nowadays and in their daily lives from home, on the road, and at work, and depending on the existing exposure to other chemicals, the amount of arsenic poisoning can sometimes exceed to more 200 mg which already lethal.

The USGS has created maps that show where and how much arsenic happens in groundwater throughout the country. The current maps depend on tests from 31,350 wells. Widespread high concentrations were found in the West, the Midwest, Texas, and the Northeast.

How Does Arsenic Enter My Private Water System?

It is generally believed that naturally found arsenic dissolves out of certain rock formations when groundwater levels drop essentially. Surface arsenic-related contaminants enter the groundwater system by continuously moving with the flow of groundwater from rainfalls, melting of snow, and the like. In any case, continuous testing for arsenic is a significant procedure by the private water system owner to protect their family's overall health.

Is My Private Well At Risk?

In the same way as other contaminants in drinking water, the component is conceivably hazardous at levels or concentrations that do not reveal a distinct taste, odor, or appearance to the water. Your best strategy is to get your water tested and gather however much information as could be expected about your water supply source, well construction, surrounding land use, and local topography. If you have an arsenic issue, there are water treatment technologies accessible now to reduce or even eliminate arsenic from your drinking water. Note: Do not simply test your water for Arsenic because there might be other primary and secondary drinking water guidelines that are raised or that may meddle with the proposed remediation system.

What Can I Use My Water For If It Is Contaminated By Arsenic?

Arsenic is not effectively absorbed through the skin. Water contaminated with arsenic can, in any case, be used for handwashing washing, washing clothes, and in the garden. Yet, care ought to be taken if you need to water vegetables like beetroot, turnips, carrots, and potatoes as they can concentrate arsenic in their skin. Additionally, care should be taken to guarantee that pets and different animals do not drink contaminated water.

How is Arsenic Removed from Our Drinking Water?

Nowadays, there are different ways to remove arsenic from drinking water. Since arsenic is one of the causes of poisoning, we have to make sure that drinking water is safe for our family to drink. There are many ways to remove not only arsenic but also other chemicals and microorganisms found in drinking water.

Since water is a necessity in life, we have to make sure that it doesn’t contain any microorganisms and sediments that can cause diseases. Most importantly, it won’t contain poisonous chemicals that can harm our loved ones.

We usually do to have the assurance that these microorganisms and chemicals are removed in our drinking water because we typically boil drinking water to the point that pathogenic bacteria and viruses and poisonous chemicals are dissolved, but are they?

Arsenic can be safely removed from water through filtration and purification processes since many ways to purify drinking water. We cannot assure ourselves that it is safe for the family.

As a family members, we just wanted to make sure that they get the best there is, especially when it has something to do with their health and welfare. 

Since there are different ways to removed bacteria, viruses, and other chemicals in water through filtration and purification, how do we know we chose the best purification process for drinking water?

In public water treatment facilities nowadays, there are different ways to filter and purify water by using chemicals as reagents. Some water treatment facility uses radiation to kill bacteria and viruses.

Knowing that chemicals and radiation are dangerous to health, we want to make sure our family won’t be exposed to its toxicity.

One way to ensure that no arsenic and other chemicals are found in drinking water is to use Berkey Water Filters to filter and purify water in the safety and comfort of the home. Berkey can remove Arsenic 99.9% out from the water. Assuring you that your family is drinking the most potable water there is.


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