Once again arsenic has made the news and this time scientists have discovered a possible link between low levels of arsenic exposure and a decrease in the human body’s ability to fight the influenza virus. ( source )
Free arsenic which can adversely affect human health comes from a reaction between certain types of igneous (volcanic) rock and oxygen when a water table (aquifer) drops. This reaction liberates ‘free’ arsenic and once the water table rises again, that ‘free’ arsenic gets carried away by the ground water.
What About Surface Water? Can Arsenic Get Into Surface Water?
Many bodies of surface water get fed by run off from streams and tributaries which get their water originally from underground sources. Additionally we must not forget that “fly ash containing arsenic can be a potential source of contamination to both surface water and ground water.” ( source )
How Can Private Individuals Test Their Water for Arsenic?
Yes they can, but please keep in mind that no at-home drinking water test kit for arsenic will suffice if you need a definitive answer as to whether or not your drinking water conatins arsenic. Only water analysis performed by a certified laboratory will provide you with those sorts of answers when dealing with water quality issues which can directly affect your health.
Why bother using an at-home test kits for arsenic in drinking water? Simple: Performing a simple screening for contaminants on your own between certified water tests greatly decreases your risk of exposure to harmful contaminats like arsenic.
Nationally recognized organizations such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Well Owners Organization suggest testing for drinking water contamination on a regular basis, and not just when an event such as flood takes place.
The kit above has a detection range of 0.0, 0.005, 0.01, 0.02, 0.06, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, <0.5, <0.5 ppm (mg/L) and you may also use this kit for determining the arsenic concentration of soil. With a total test time of just 12 minutes, this inexpensive (< $20 USD) home water test kit makes testing well water, groundwater, surface water and all forms of drinking water a breeze!