In a nutshell, arsenic in ground water comes from a reaction between certain types of igneous (volcanic) rock and oxygen when a water table (aquifer) drops. That reaction liberates ‘free’ arsenic and once the water table rises again, that ‘free’ arsenic gets carried away by the water.
As for whether or not arsenic in drinking water can harm a person, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has stated that water systems may NOT dispense drinking water with arsenic in concentrations greater than 10 ppb as of January 2006.
Below please find a brief list of SOME of the illnesses and conditions associated with consuming arsenic in drinking water:
- Long term exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate.
- Short term exposure to high doses of arsenic can cause other adverse health effects including death.
For more detailed information on the adverse effects on human health associated with exposure to arsenic, please refer to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry’s Arsenic Assessment.
Additionally, you can information on testing drinking water for arsenic on this page.
Testing drinking water for arsenic
Many people believe they cannot test for the presence of dissolved inorganic arsenic in their drinking water without the assistance of a water laboratory… and they are WRONG.
Arsenic in drinking water test kits for the average homeowner most certainly DO exist and they DO NOT require the assistance of a water testing professional. Please note, however, that if an at-home drinking water test kit for arsenic such as one of the Arsenic Quick test kits offered in the Water Test Kit Store indicates concentrations near, at or above 10ppb (parts per billion) of dissolved inorganic arsenic… you really should have your water tested by a certified water testing laboratory before selecting a water filter to address the problem.
We suggest periodic water testing because…
Water conditions and quality can fluctuate at any time.
For well owners: Aquifer levels change with the weather and can become contaminated by outside influences miles away without any warning to well owners.
For municipal (city) water customer: Water lines and equipment in municipal water systems can fail and/or plumbing in one’s home or place of business may become corrupted in some way.