TOXICITY OF ARSENIC
Why is arsenic harmful?
Arsenic dissolved in drinking water is one of the most serious problems of water pollution in some communities. Arsenic can come from the dissolution of gold-rich rocks, but in most cases and especially in industrialized countries it comes from industry discharges into rivers.
Arsenic is a very toxic metal that produces serious damage in the digestive system with symptoms of severe vomiting, stomach ache, diarrheas, etc. When ingested in sufficient quantity, it is fatal.
- Its toxicity is so great for the animals and plants that is a common component of rodenticides, insecticides and herbicides. Due to its toxicity, massive poisoning in people who drank water contaminated with high percentage of arsenic has taken place.
Long-term poisoning with arsenic
However, the main problem of this metal in drinking water are not these poisoning cases, but the effect this poison has on population in the long-term.
It has been proved that drinking water containing this metal is responsible for the development of cancerous tumors in the lungs, kidneys, bladder and skin.
These diseases usually occur in an exposure period of approximately 10 years. However, arsenic can also have a negative action on the skin, producing changes such as pigmentation changes, which appear much earlier.
Other studies suggest that arsenic may be responsible for other diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.
Water polluted with arsenic in the world
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water should contain less than 0, 01 mg / liter to be considered safe for consumption. This quantity is surpassed by many countries worldwide, both among the most developed countries like the United States or Australia, and among developing countries like India.
Among the most affected countries we have Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Chile in America, Thailand and China in Asia and Hungary in Europe. WHO proposes seeking less polluted water sources and the study of appropriate techniques for the elimination of this component.
Antioxidants to combat arsenic
Another way of reducing arsenic effects on human body is to ingest rich antioxidant food. Antioxidants are able to neutralize the negative effects of this harmful substance. (More information about antioxidants)
More information on water
20 May, 2021