Regardless of the source, arsenic is toxic at low levels, and long-term exposure can cause cancer.
People are most likely to be exposed to arsenic through contaminated drinking water.
When your water is contaminated with arsenic, it’s important to invest in an appropriate treatment solution to protect your health.
The right filtration system for you will treat not only arsenic, but also any other contaminants in the water, to ensure your drinking water is both clean and healthy.
What is Arsenic and How Does it Get Into Water?Arsenic is a metalloid - an element which has some of the properties of a metal. Large amounts of arsenic are in the earth’s crust, and it’s found naturally in rocks, soils, air, and water. Arsenic can enter groundwater supplies as it dissolves out of certain rock formations.
Arsenic can also seep into groundwater from its use in industrial and agricultural applications. Arsenic is a byproduct of copper smelting, mining, and coal burning. According to the CDC, some industries release thousands of pounds of arsenic into the environment every year.
Arsenic was also used as an ingredient in some pesticides, fertilizers, animal feed, and wood preservatives.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), dangerously high levels of arsenic have been found in drinking water wells in more than 25 states.
How do you know if you have arsenic in your water?Arsenic has no taste, smell, or color when dissolved in water. Because it doesn’t show obvious signs, the only way to know for sure if it is in your water is to test it.
If you are on public water, your municipal water treatment system is responsible for monitoring and treating threatening contaminants, meaning it is unlikely your water has arsenic contamination.
For private well owners, you are responsible for the health and maintenance of your well water. A laboratory analysis of your water can detect any traces of arsenic, and can also identify any other harmful contaminants. You can contact your state certification officer for a list of laboratories in your area that will perform tests on drinking water for a fee.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water is 10 micrograms per liter, or 10 parts per billion (ppb).
What are the health risks of arsenic in water?The health effects of arsenic in your water can be both immediate and long-term.
According to the World Health Organization, ingestion of arsenic can cause nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and shock.
Long-term exposure symptoms are usually first observed in the skin, including pigmentation changes, skin lesions, and hard patches on the palms and soles of the feet, which may be a precursor to skin cancer.
In addition to skin cancer, long-term exposure may cause cancers of the bladder and lungs. There is also an increased risk for diabetes, pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease.
In utero and early childhood exposure may result in infant and young adult mortality. Numerous studies also show impacts on cognitive development, intelligence, and memory.
Can you shower in water with arsenic?Arsenic doesn’t readily enter the body through the skin. If you avoid swallowing the water, you can bathe, shower, and wash dishes in water that has up to 500 ppb of arsenic. You may need to take extra care that small children have supervision to ensure they don’t swallow the water.
Can a water softener filter out arsenic?Typical water softeners are not designed to filter out arsenic from your water. A water softener will reduce the hardness minerals in your water, such as calcium and magnesium.
Does boiling water filter out arsenic?Unfortunately, boiling water can actually increase the level of arsenic in your water by concentrating it, rather than removing it. You should not boil water that has arsenic in it.
How do you get rid of arsenic in your water?The most common method to deal with arsenic in your water is the installation of a reverse osmosis (RO) filtration system.
An RO system uses a series of filters and a semi-permeable membrane to separate out contaminants and flush them away, leaving clean, healthy water.
An RO system is typically installed in a location near your drinking water, such as underneath your kitchen sink.
An RO system effectively treats not only arsenic, but also a long list of other contaminants including lead, copper, fluoride and total dissolved solids.
Reverse Osmosis system
You can get rid of arsenic in your waterThe risk of arsenic in your water supply is a legitimate concern for millions of households across the country, whether from natural or manmade sources.
Because arsenic doesn’t leave a telltale taste, smell or odor, if you suspect your water could be contaminated, it’s crucial to test your water for it.
If your water is contaminated, an appropriate filtration system can ensure your water is clean and healthy for your family.