Toxic Water and Water Contamination Solutions

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Arsenic Toxicity and Arsenic Poisoning

Arsenic is absorbed from drinking and eating food cooked in contaminated water and through the skin.

Arsenic Toxicity and Arsenic Poisoning in well water increases the risk of cancer.

  • Sources of Arsenic Poisoning
    Sources of Arsenic Poisoning - Envioronmental, occupational, household and medical sources of arsenic.
  • Arsenic Poisoning Symptoms
    Arsenic poisoning symptoms, sources and actions in the body.
  • Arsenic Contamination Map
    Arsenic Contamination U.S. Map provided by the U.S.G.S. Arsenic / arsenic contamination / groundwater arsenic / arsenic soil arsenic / water arsenic poisoning /


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) potential side effects of low dose long term exposure to Arsenic include: [1] [2]  




Stomach pain


Kidney damage


Liver damage 

Abnormal heart rhythm 

Birth defects

Spontaneous abortions 

Cardiovascular disease 

Reproductive problems 

Darkening of the skin

Lower IQ levels in children

Partial paralysis


Low platelet count

Numbness of hands and feet 

Damage to blood vessels

Decreased red blood cell count 

Decreased white blood cell count 

“corns” or “warts” on the palms, soles and torso 

Sensation of pins and needles in hands and feet (neuropathy) 

Thickening, redness, itching, rash or swelling of the skin 


Long term arsenic toxicity and arsenic poisoning increases the risk of several cancers including: 


Skin cancer 

Lung cancer 

Liver cancer 

Bladder cancer 

Kidney cancer 

Nasal passage cancer 

Prostate cancer 




Test your hair or urine for aluminum toxicity.The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the EPA have determined that inorganic arsenic toxicity is a known human carcinogen.


High dose, short term, exposure to Arsenic will cause death. 


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. It is odorless and tasteless. It enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural (runoff from orchards) and industrial practices (runoff from glass & electronic production wastes ).Arsenic was used in pressure treated chromated copper arsenate (CCA) wood prior to December 31, 2003. Arsenic is absorbed from drinking and eating food cooked in contaminated water and through the skin. 

There is some evidence that inhaled or ingested arsenic can injure pregnant women or their unborn babies, although the studies are not definitive. Studies in animals show that large doses of arsenic that cause illness in pregnant females, can also cause low birth weight, fetal malformations, and even fetal death. Arsenic can cross the placenta and has been found in fetal tissues. Arsenic is found at low levels in breast milk.  

There is some evidence that long-term exposure to arsenic in children may result in lower IQ scores. There is also some evidence that exposure to arsenic in the womb and early childhood may increase mortality in young adults.  

The urine is the most reliable test for arsenic exposure within the last few days. Tests on hair and fingernails can measure exposure to high levels of arsenic onver the past 6-12 months. Arsenic may have an affinity for hair. Thus hair samples may give falsely elevated results. These tests can determine if you hae been exposed to above-average levels of arsenic. They cannot predict whether the arsenic levels in your body will affect your health.  

EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million (10 parts per billion) to protect consumers served by public water systems from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic. Arsenic toxicity in the body can increase with time and exposure. The rate of arsenic intake can exceed the rate of elimination from the body. [3] 


Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Chronic arsenic poisoning may be persistent and/or irreversible. Arsenic induced cardiovascular disease may result from the interaction among genetic, environment and nutritional factors. [4] [5] 


Chronic arsenic poisoning through ingestion of arsenic-contaminated water is associated with various cardiovascular diseases including:



High blood pressure 

Stroke and Heart attack 

Impaired electrical conduction in the heart 

Peripheral vascular disease (aka peripheral artery disease) 

Impaired small blood vessel circulation 


World Health Organization Statements 

·         Increased risks of lung and bladder cancer and of arsenic-associated skin lesions have been observed at drinking-water arsenic concentrations of less than 0.05 mg/L. 

·         Immediate symptoms on an acute poisoning typically include vomiting, esophagus and abdominal pain, and bloody "rice water" diarrhea. 

·         The symptoms and signs that arsenic causes appear to differ between individuals, population groups and geographic areas. Thus, there is no universal definition of the disease caused by arsenic. 

·         Following long-term exposure, the first changes are usually observed in the skin: pigmentation changes, and then hyperkeratosis. Cancer is a late phenomenon, and usually takes more than 10 years to develop. [6] 


Skin Absorption
ermal absorption during showering and hand washing can be an important exposure route if the water contains more than 100 mcg/L As(III) or As(V). Cell changes, cell death associated with disruption of the cell membrane, and inhibition of DNA and protein syntheses occur at As(III) exposure doses as low as 10 mcg/L. [7] One to 6.4% of arsenic applied to the skin or during bathing is absorbed and eliminated through the kidneys. [8]


EPA standards for Arsenic Levels in Water
Health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCGL) of 0.0.
Enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) 0f 0.01 mg/ml (10ug/L) (10mcg/L) (10ppb).


How to test your body for Arsenic Toxicity: 


How to test water for Arsenic Toxicity: WaterCheck Test 


Recommended Arsenic Toxicity Water Treatment: [9]

  • Reverse Osmosis 
  • Distillation
  • Activated Aluminum Absorption

This is not an all-encompassing metal toxicity list. There are other sources of metal exposure not listed herein.





[3]  National Toxicology Program ( 

[4]  Risk of carotid atherosclerosis associated with genetic polymorphisms of apolipoprotein E and inflammatory genes among arsenic exposed residents in  Taiwan . Hsieh YC, Hsieh FI, Lien LM, Chou YL, Chiou HY, Chen CJ. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008 Feb 15;227(1):1-7.  

[5]  A review of the epidemiologic literature on the role of environmental arsenic exposure and cardiovascular diseases. Wang CH, Hsiao CK, Chen CL, Hsu LI, Chiou HY, Chen SY, Hsueh YM, Wu MM, Chen CJ. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007 Aug 1;222(3):315-26. 

[6] World Health Organization  

[7]  Effects of arsenic on human keratinocytes: morphological, physiological, and precursor incorporation studies. Bernstam L, Lan CH, Lee J, Nriagu JO. Environ Res. 2002 Jul;89(3):220-35. 

[8]  In vivo and in vitro percutaneous absorption and skin decontamination of arsenic from water and soil. Wester RC, Maibach HI, Sedik L, Melendres J, Wade M. Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1993 Apr;20(3):336-40.

[9] National Testing Laboratories Corrective Action Brochure



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Keith Bishop, Clincal Nutritionist, B.Sc. Pharmacy, Health Coach 

Keith D. Bishop
Clinical Nutritionist
B.Sc. Pharmacy
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