Arsenic - a toxic chemical element

Arsenic is a semi-metal element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless. It is a toxic chemical element that is unevenly distributed in the Earth’s crust in soil, rocks, and minerals.

It does not easily dissolved in water. Therefore, when found in a water supply, it usually comes from mining or metallurgical operations or from runoff from agricultural areas where materials containing it were used as industrial poisons. It is highly toxic and has been classified by the US EPA as a carcinogen, which was derived from toxicity considerations rather than carcinogenicity.

Although short-term exposures to high doses (a thousand times higher than the drinking water standard) cause adverse effects in people, such exposures do not occur from public water supplies in the U.S. that comply with the MCL standard.

Some people who drink water in excess of EPA’s standard (10 ppb) over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Health effects might include:

* Thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver

* Cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunological, neurological (e.g., numbness and partial paralysis), reproductive, and endocrine (e.g., diabetes) effects

* Cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.

* The symptoms and signs appear to differ between individuals, population groups and geographic areas. Thus, there is no universal definition of the disease caused by arsenic. This complicates the assessment of the burden on health. Similarly, there is no method to identify those cases of internal cancer that were caused by it from cancers induced by other factors.

* Absorption through the skin is minimal and thus hand-washing, bathing, laundry, etc. with water containing arsenic do not pose human health risk.

* The relationship between arsenic exposure and other health effects is not clear-cut. For example, some studies have reported hypertensive and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and reproductive effects.

What can you do if you suspect you have been exposed?

If you suspect that you are being exposed then your diet needs to include lots of sulfur. Sulfur has been shown to eliminate some of the arsenic from the body. Foods that contains sulfur include: eggs, onions, beans, legumes, and garlic. Sulfur can be bought and taken in tablet form also. An amino acid that provides sulfur is cysteine.

Fiber can also help to leech the poison from your system by attaching to it and washing it out. Include a lot of fiber in your diet by eating whole grains and cereals, fruits, vegetables, and psyllium husks.

If someone accidentally ingests arsenic administer 5 charcoal tablets immediately. Take 5 more charcoal tablets 15 minutes later and again every fifteen minutes. Go immediately to an emergency room. Charcoal tablets should be a part of every medicine cabinet for any type of poisoning.

Chelation therapy is another option if you have poisoning. chelation therapy is used to remove toxic metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury from our bodies. The procedure has been done for forty years in the United States and is safe. It a series of injections of ethylenediaminetetra aacetic acid (EDTA) that is done in a doctors office.

You can also do chelation therapy at home with over the counter chelation formulas bought at a health food store. Most are made with alfalfa, garlic, fiber, turin and selenium. Alfalfa liquid or tablets, taken three times daily with meals, detoxifies the liver and chelates substances from the body. Co Q(10) improves circulation of the blood which allows the toxic substances to leave the body. The amino acid L-Lysine detoxifies harmful heavy metals from our systems. Rutin and apple pectin can be taken to bind with unwanted toxic metals and remove them from the body through the intestinal tract.

When doing any chelation therapy, make sure that you replace lost essential minerals by taking alfalfa, iron, kelp and zinc in addition to your regular multi-vitamin.

Although the risk of exposure is very small, if you feel that you may have a need to remove it from your water, point-of-use (POU) water filter will take care of it for you.

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