Arsenic In The Water Supply
Arsenic is a chemical element found naturally in the crust of our planet Earth. Since it’s naturally occurring, it can be found in our air, land, and water. Although the chemical element is found all around us, the primary source of exposure to arsenic is food and drinking water. Exposure to arsenic-contaminated drinking water may lead to severe short-term and long-term health effects. Arsenic poisoning happens when an individual is exposed to high levels of arsenic within days to weeks.
How Arsenic Gets into Drinking Water
Basically, there are trace amounts of arsenic in all living things. Unfortunately, arsenic can get into your drinking water in large amounts through agricultural, mining and industrial runoff or natural deposits. Improper waste management usually results in a chemical spillage that will run to water sources such as private wells.
How Do You Remove Arsenic from Drinking Water
Arsenic is a tasteless and odorless contaminant. You won’t be able to tell if the contaminant is present in your water or not. Therefore, conducting a water test is necessary to find out the quality of your drinking water and the possible presence of contaminants or pollutants. After testing your water and finding high levels of arsenic, the next step is for you to take action to get rid of the chemical element from your drinking water. Unfortunately, boiling or heating water will not remove arsenic from your water. Instead, it will increase the concentration of arsenic due to the evaporation process.
Water treatment methods such as oxidation, coagulation, precipitation and filtration, adsorption, ion exchange, and membrane techniques are some of the ways to remove arsenic from your drinking water. Home water filtration systems Aquaox offers are quick treatment methods to reduce or remove arsenic from the water coming into your house. If you’re unsure of what you need to do to keep your drinking water safe from arsenic and other pollutants, you can contact your local government for instructions and information.
What are the Risks of Arsenic in Well Water
Private water sources are prone to arsenic and other contaminants because they lack regular testing and maintenance. Arsenic-contaminated well water causes various health problems upon exposure to high levels. Prolonged or long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water will increase the risk of developing certain cancers including lung, kidney, skin, bladder, and liver cancer.
How Much Arsenic is Allowed in Water by the EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has set a lower level standard for arsenic in drinking water to protect people from arsenic poisoning. The EPA has set an MCL or Maximum Contaminant Level at 0.010 mg/L or 10ppb to achieve its health goals.
What are the Symptoms of Arsenic Poisoning
The symptoms of exposure to high levels of arsenic in drinking water include vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, drowsiness, confusion, headaches, excess saliva, blood in urine, muscle cramping, hair loss, convulsions, swallowing problems, and impaired nerve function. Aside from these symptoms, exposure to low, medium and high levels of the pollutant in your water will change the color of your skin. Darkening and rashes on the skin are common symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Children exposed to the chemical are at greater risk from arsenic poisoning. Pregnant women who drink arsenic-contaminated water are prone to miscarriage while the infant is in danger of congenital diseases.
The Risk of Cancer from Arsenic in Drinking Water
As mentioned above, continuous or prolonged exposure to arsenic-contaminated drinking water will increase the risks of developing certain cancers. Years of exposure to arsenic will raise the chances of developing cancer. Studies show an association between exposure to arsenic-contaminated drinking water and skin cancer. The study has been carried out in Bangladesh and Taiwan. Studies in the United States of America regarding the association between cancer and arsenic in drinking water are conducted to find out if exposure to arsenic-contaminated water increases the risks of cancer. Since contamination of drinking water is dangerous to human health, private wells must be checked regularly to reduce the health risks.
How Long Does It Take to Remove Arsenic from Your System
According to studies, it takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months to remove high levels of arsenic from your system. Unfortunately, urine testing will not show your exposure to the contaminant. Tests are ineffective in testing low levels of arsenic. There are several methods used to flush the toxin from the human body. The treatment will depend on the type and stage of arsenic poisoning. Detoxification is a method used to remove arsenic from your system. Detoxify by eating sulfur-rich foods like fish, eggs and poultry, beans and legumes. When going through a detoxification process to get rid of heavy metals like arsenic, it’s best to get the advice and help of a medical professional. Prevention is the best weapon against arsenic and other types of drinking water pollutants. Protect yourself and your family from arsenic poisoning by doing regular testing and maintenance of your private well.
Arsenic, just like with any other contaminant is a threat to humans, animals and plant life. Therefore, regular water testing and maintenance must be conducted to prevent it from entering water sources either private or municipal supplies. For households relying on private wells, regular testing and treatment must be done to prevent the health hazards of arsenic. If the problem persists, the best way to preserve the health of humans, animals, and plants is by finding another water source.