What Is Arsenic?
Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in food, water, soil and air. Today, we know it to be toxic and very dangerous for human consumption, so there are limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency as to how much can be present in our drinking water. While those are adhered to by municipal water treatment plants, you are responsible for treating your own private well, so there might be arsenic present without your knowledge.
What Happens if You Consume Arsenic in Your Water?
Drinking or eating arsenic leads to both short-term and long-term health impacts. Some of the immediate effects that you experience might include:
- cardiovascular effects
- numbness or burning sensations in the hands or feet
Some of the long-term effects that you experience might include:
- increased risk of cancers including bladder cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer and other cancers
- increased risk of diabetes
- respiratory disease
- cardiovascular disease
- skin problems
- reduced intelligence and mental capacity in children
- and more
Because of the severity of the health effects, arsenic in your water is nothing to take lightly or brush off. The impacts you experience will depend on a wide range of factors, including the dosage that you were exposed to, the type of arsenic you were exposed to, how long and frequently your body was exposed and your general health. Those who are already immunocompromised, young or old are at an elevated risk of long-term harm.
How Do You Know if There is Arsenic in Your Water?
The only way to know is by having water testing completed. Arsenic will not discolor your water, have an aftertaste or lend your water a distinct smell like other compounds, so you must use professional water testing. The standard for arsenic set by the Environmental Protection Agency is 10 micrograms per liter, but consuming water for many years just under that level could still lead to experience health effects. The goal for arsenic in drinking water is 0, which can be achieved through water filtration using a professional system like those offered through Atlantic Blue Water Center.
Test Your Private Well
Every private well should be tested for the presence of arsenic at least once, and many well owners have testing for a broad range of compounds performed on an annual basis. If you do have arsenic in your water, Atlantic Blue Water Center can work with you to determine the best way to treat the issue. We offer a broad range of water treatment and filtration resources that can help any problem and also be used in conjunction with one another to take care of any other issues with your water. Some of the best ways to remove arsenic in your water are:
- Anion exchange units that will exchange the arsenic for chloride and can be used for the entire house
- Reverse osmosis units that are installed at the point of use (but cannot remove arsenic 3 as effectively)
- Adsorptive filter media that can be placed in whole-house or point of use treatment systems that will remove arsenic in conjunction with other filters
Can I Reduce My Contact with Arsenic?
There are other ways that we come into contact with arsenic that can increase our risk of experiencing long-term effects. This can be particularly important if there is arsenic in your water that is higher than 0 but less than the EPA standards. Some of the ways to avoid arsenic include:
- Do not burn wood that might be or that has been treated with arsenic. If you are not sure whether or not the wood has been treated with it, you should never burn it.
- Check the ingredients of any health or folk remedies that you use or purchase online to ensure that arsenic is not present, particularly if they are from a generic retailer like Amazon.
- If the wood used for your patio or deck was treated with arsenic, make sure that you seal it every 6 months to 2 years as the seal wears off.
- Wash and peel any vegetables that you have grown in your soil unless you have tested it for arsenic and other dangerous compounds.
- If your children play on playgrounds and other wood structures that might have been treated with arsenic, make sure that they wash their hands after, especially before eating.
- Avoid eating too many foods that might contain high levels of arsenic, like cereal grains, rice and more.
- Try to pay attention to what compounds around your house might contain arsenic and never hesitate to dispose of them if they do, particularly if it’s a supplement or something that will be ingested. A little arsenic in your drinking water when combined with arsenic in a supplement and the arsenic that you consume through your daily diet might lead to you experiencing some of the dangerous health impacts possible.
Make Sure That Your Home Water Supply Is Safe to Drink with Atlantic Blue Water Center
We provide water treatment and water softening solutions for homeowners that want a cleaner water supply and water that is free from hazardous carcinogens that can contribute to increased cancer risk. We’re also focused on providing additional education on water treatment, water quality, and issues associated with water contaminants. Call us at (410) 751-9200 to schedule your in-home water testing appointment today.