Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust that can be dangerous when ingested. Long-term exposure to arsenic in water can be fatal and has been linked to skin and lung cancer, developmental effects, and endocrine disruption.
Stay tuned to learn how to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of arsenic in drinking water.
Key Takeaways: Arsenic in Drinking Water
- Arsenic is a chemical element found in the earth’s crust and can be present in water when the pH is between 6-10.
- Arsenic can be released into the environment through human activities such as mining, smelting, and using agricultural and wood treatment products.
- Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water can lead to serious health risks, including skin, lung, and bladder cancer.
- Treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and filtration can effectively remove arsenic from drinking water.
- The US Water Systems All American Water Filter is the best arsenic removal filter for most people.
Understanding Arsenic: What You Need to Know
Arsenic, a chemical element with the symbol As and atomic number 33, is a metalloid with metal and non-metal properties.
It’s a common term when discussing water safety, but what does it mean for you and your home’s water supply?
There are two forms of arsenic: organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic naturally occurs in our environment, while inorganic arsenic is often the byproduct of human activities such as mining and smelting. Both forms are toxic and can pose serious health risks.
Organic arsenic is present in water when the pH is between 6-10. It originates from sources like surface runoff, soil seepage, and industrial activities.
Organic arsenic has been linked to several health issues, including.
- Skin Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Developmental Effects
To limit exposure to organic arsenic, it’s crucial to have your water tested and treated. Additionally, limiting the intake of foods with arsenic and using reliable information resources can help you make informed decisions for your family’s health.
Inorganic arsenic, found in water with a pH of 6-10, is typically released from mining and smelting activities.
This form of arsenic can also pose serious health hazards, with potential side effects ranging from skin cancer to bladder cancer.
Like its organic counterpart, inorganic arsenic can be reduced through water testing and treatment. Even short-term exposure can cause serious health issues, so taking proactive measures is important.
Here are some key points to remember:
- Ensure your drinking water adheres to the EPA’s MCL of 0.01 mg/l or 10 parts per billion for arsenic.
- Employ treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and filtration to help reduce arsenic concentrations.
- If you’re a private well owner, regularly test and treat your water to reduce arsenic exposure.
- Limit intake of foods that may contain arsenic to reduce exposure further.
Where in the US has high levels of Arsenic?
Nevada is a state in the US known for its high levels of arsenic in water, particularly in rural regions that depend on private wells. The US Geological Survey reports that approximately 18% of Nevada’s population may be exposed to arsenic levels that exceed the federal standard of 10 micrograms per liter (µg/L) for public water supplies.
Now, where does this arsenic come from?
The answer is both natural and man-made sources. For instance, Nevada’s volcanic rocks and geothermal activity are natural sources of arsenic. On the other hand, human activities like mining and agriculture contribute to the arsenic levels as well.
Exposure to arsenic can lead to severe health issues, including cancer, skin lesions, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Hence, regular testing of well water and installation of treatment systems are highly recommended for Nevada residents.
But Nevada isn’t alone. Other states in the US also have high levels of arsenic in water:
The US Geological Survey estimates that about 13% of Washington’s population may be exposed to arsenic levels exceeding the federal standard.
The state’s geological composition, including volcanic rocks, geothermal activity, and human activities such as mining and agriculture, are the main sources of arsenic contamination in the water.
Approximately 10% of Maine’s population may be exposed to high arsenic levels, according to the US Geological Survey.
The state’s geological composition, characterized by granite bedrock and marine sediments, contributes to the presence of arsenic in the water. Additionally, agricultural practices and industrial waste can also contribute to arsenic contamination.
As per the US Geological Survey, about 8% of Florida’s population may be exposed to arsenic levels above the federal standard.
The state’s geological features, particularly limestone and phosphate deposits, significantly release arsenic into the water. Furthermore, the use of fertilizers and urban runoff also contribute to the presence of arsenic in Florida’s drinking water.
It is essential for residents in these states to be aware of the potential risks associated with arsenic exposure and take necessary precautions, such as regular water testing and utilizing appropriate water treatment methods, to ensure safe drinking water for their families.
There Are No Potential Benefits of Arsenic
Therefore, it’s important to focus on reducing arsenic exposure to safeguard your health.
Remember, long-term exposure to arsenic can lead to serious health issues like cancer, skin problems, and developmental effects in children. To minimize exposure, test your water regularly, and use reliable information and resources.
While the debate around the potential benefits of arsenic in drinking water continues, it’s crucial to be proactive in reducing arsenic exposure.
Water treatment facilities and private well owners should actively monitor and prevent arsenic contamination to ensure our drinking water remains safe and healthy.
The Dangers & Risks of Arsenic in Drinking Water Are Proven & Serious
The health risks associated with consuming arsenic-contaminated water are serious. It’s crucial to be aware of these potential dangers and the symptoms of arsenic poisoning.
You need to know that:
- Long-term exposure to arsenic in water can lead to skin, lung, and bladder cancer.
- Symptoms of arsenic exposure can vary and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Skin changes such as darkening, thickening, or pigmentation can also occur.
- Chronic health issues like hair loss, brittle nails, muscle weakness, and neurological disorders are linked to arsenic poisoning.
Being aware of the sources and potential risks of arsenic in your water is the first step toward protection. Private well owners should take responsibility for testing and treating their water- a good water filter for well water is essential for most.
By taking these measures, you can protect your family’s health from the dangers of arsenic pollution.
What Are The Safe Limits of Arsenic in Water?
When it comes to the water you drink, arsenic isn’t a guest you want to invite. This toxic element has no safe level of exposure for us humans.
To protect public health, organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), World Health Organization (WHO), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have all set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for arsenic.
They’ve drawn the line at 10 micrograms per liter (µg/L) or 10 parts per billion (ppb).
How to Test for Arsenic in Water?
Ensuring your water is arsenic-free is as important as putting on your seatbelt – if you live in an affected area, it’s a safety measure you can’t afford to skip.
Here are two ways to test for arsenic in your water:
- Home test kits: These are the DIY heroes of water testing. They’re simple and affordable, and they’ll give you a basic idea of what’s in your water.
- Certified laboratories: If you want to go the extra mile, certified labs can test your water and provide more accurate results than home test kits.
Knowing the arsenic content in your water is the first step to safeguarding your health. If needed, regular testing and the installation of treatment systems can keep arsenic at bay.
The Best Way to Quickly Get a Lab-Quality Test for Arsenic
If you want to know if your water is safe from arsenic and other contaminants, consider ordering a MyTapScore home water test.
MyTapScore is a simple, affordable, and accurate way to test your water quality and get personalized recommendations for treatment.
They have a Total Arsenic Test specifically for people with wells who are concerned about arsenic. And if you want full peace of mind, their essential well water test looks for all common well water contaminants.
Visit the MyTapScore website to learn more.
How to Remove Arsenic from Water
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to worry about arsenic in our water. But reality often has other plans. There are several filtration methods we recommend.
Reverse Osmosis: The Reliable Option
Reverse osmosis is a tried-and-true method for removing arsenic from drinking water. This system uses a semipermeable membrane to filter out arsenic and other dissolved solids.
Whether you’re part of a public water system or you’re a private well owner, reverse osmosis can be a viable solution.
If you’re a well owner, we recommend checking in with your local health department to determine the best treatment option for your water. You’ll likely need a good sediment filter in addition to a multi-stage RO system.
As for public water systems, water quality reports are your best friend, providing valuable information on arsenic concentrations in your community’s water system. These water systems are regulated and, therefore, should not be unsafe. So you only need a reverse osmosis system if your city water is contaminated with something you’re concerned about. Or you’d like to improve tase.
These countertop RO systems are a good option for people on city water.
Activated Carbon: The Popular Choice
Activated carbon is another method that’s gained popularity for its effectiveness in arsenic removal. This material works by adsorbing arsenic and other organic compounds from your water supply.
Public health departments often employ this method to reduce long-term exposure risks of arsenic and other contaminants in drinking water. Since arsenic exposure can increase cancer risks, ensuring our water is free from this toxic element is essential.
Ion Exchange: The Affordable Alternative
Ion exchange is a cost-effective treatment process that swaps arsenic ions for harmless ones. This method is particularly beneficial in reducing arsenic levels in drinking water and mitigating health effects associated with arsenic exposure.
Here’s a quick rundown of ion exchange:
- Arsenic ions bind to a resin and are exchanged for harmless ions.
- Regularly monitoring arsenic levels in water is crucial to ensure they remain below the recommended level.
Distillation: The Thorough Approach
Distillation is a process that boils water and condenses the steam to separate arsenic and other impurities. While it may sound complicated, it’s an effective method for reducing exposure to high arsenic levels and decreasing the risk of adverse health effects, including cancer.
By using distillation, you can reduce your exposure to arsenic and help protect your family from the health risks associated with its presence.
If you’re interested in Distillation, check out our post on the best distiller machines for your home
Best Water Filter for Arsenic Removal
If arsenic is your water’s unwelcome guest, the US Water Systems All American Water Filter is your best defense.
This filter far exceeds the current drinking water standard of 0.01 mg/l or 10 parts per billion for arsenic and guarantees your satisfaction with a lifetime warranty. It’s perfect for point-of-use applications and consistently delivers reliable test results.
In our best water filter for arsenic article, we found it the best choice for most people.
Here are four compelling reasons why this filter outshines the rest:
- The filter includes a sediment filter, a carbon block filter, and a carbon post filter capable of removing organic and inorganic arsenic forms.
- Efficiency is its middle name. It’s available in 50 GPD or 100 GPD options, which translates to less waste.
- The user-friendly design makes installation, operation, and maintenance a breeze. No need for electricity, chemicals, or backwashing.
- The cherry on top? A 5-Year Warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The US Water Systems All American Water Filter is a formidable ally in the quest for arsenic-free water. It meets the current drinking water standard and is a cinch to install and maintain.
As we’ve delved into the dangers of arsenic in drinking water and how to test for it, one thing is clear: proactive measures are crucial. Knowledge is power; you can protect your family’s health with the right information.
Our recommendations? Test your water for arsenic, and invest in a water filter specifically designed for arsenic removal.
With these steps, you can rest assured that your family is drinking the safest, cleanest water possible.