Harmful Effects of Arsenic on Human Health

October 26, 2017


Arsenic can pose a serious risk to your health. It is very important to detect any traces of it and have it removed from your water as soon as possible. Detecting any potential arsenic contamination in your water can ensure that you have a fresh, trustworthy supply to drink from. If you don’t, these are some of the health risks you could experience.

Skin Changes

Being exposed to arsenic in drinking water can cause significant skin changes, such as thickening and pigmentation. The color of your skin can drastically change and have a noticeable effect on your appearance. These symptoms tend to appear gradually but can manifest rapidly if exposure to arsenic-contaminated water is not halted. That is why it is crucial to call a service for arsenic removal from drinking water to get the issue addressed immediately.


The most serious side effect of prolonged exposure to arsenic in water is cancer. Arsenic exposure has been linked with cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney. The risk of developing cancer increases with the amount of arsenic that has been ingested, and also where drinking water has an arsenic concentration of 50 µg/liter.

Being exposed to arsenic is not the only way to experience these harmful health effects either. They can also be inhaled in the workplace. Inhaling arsenic is a major risk factor for lung cancer. At levels of 750 (µg/m3) per year and above, a significant risk increase was found for developing lung cancer.

Scientists are still trying to work out how arsenic causes cancer. The current theory is that arsenic damages chromosomes, which leads to an onset of the deadly illness. Arsenic removal is therefore vital to avoiding these severe cancer risks.

Other Health Problems

Soluble inorganic arsenic is much more potent and can rapidly cause health problems. If a person ingests a large amount of arsenic in a short time, they can have severe, stomach-related symptoms such as vomiting and nervous system damage. If they do not get immediate treatment, then death is a very real possibility. Ingestion of this specific type of arsenic can also cause a reduction in blood cell production, liver enlargement, loss of sensation in the limbs, and brain damage.

A study done in Taiwan about the link between long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic in drinking water and Blackfoot disease showed that there was a direct link between the two. Further findings indicate that arsenic severely damages blood vessels in the lower limbs, which progresses to gangrene. Other forms of blood vessel disease have been noted in countries with inorganic arsenic in their water supply, which shows that the effects were not just influenced by outside factors, but that the arsenic has consistently produced toxic results.

Further Studies

Keep loved ones healthy by keeping arsenic out of drinking water

Studies are still being conducted about the specific relationship between arsenic exposure and other ill health effects. While the evidence in other areas isn’t as strong, some interesting correlations have been noted. The most significant among them has been for high blood pressure, heart attacks, and other similar conditions related to the circulatory system. There is weak evidence, however, for diabetes and reproductive effects.

Arsenic exposure can be fatal in high doses and the cause of major, long-term health risks in lower doses. Tap water must be consistently checked to ensure that it is free of arsenic, and work environments must also be checked so that their employees are not exposed to many of these risks. Most of the health effects take a while to develop, so acting early can be the difference between light and severe consequences.