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  • ArsenicPosted 2 years ago under Uncategorized

    Arsenic is a naturally occurring, toxic element found in the earth. It is found in over 200 different minerals. There are two main types of arsenic: organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic compounds are primarily found in marine life, but they are also sometimes found in terrestrial life forms. Exposure to arsenic from organic sources is widely considered to be less toxic than exposure to inorganic arsenic. (1)

    A Traditional Poison

    Arsenic has been used as a poison for centuries. Assassins have historically been very fond of arsenic because symptoms of arsenic poisoning resembled other sicknesses like food poisoning. The resulting death would look like natural causes. In low doses, arsenic poisoning could cause diarrhea, confusion, paralysis, or weakness. Arsenic was difficult to detect as it has little odor, almost no taste, and it doesn’t affect the color of food. How many kings and queens have died of arsenic poisoning? No one knows, but many historians speculate that kings and queens who died young rarely died of natural causes.

    Arsenic Exposure

    The majority of arsenic that we are exposed to is not of natural origin. Natural processes can bring arsenic into the atmosphere (such as volcano eruptions), but only one third of the arsenic in our atmosphere is of natural origin. Arsenic can be found in the earth’s crust, in deeply drilled wells, and in rocks, soil, air and water. (2)

    Industrial Sources of Arsenic

    Industrial activities such as mining, smelting, and the burning of coal in power plants all play a role in contaminating the environment with arsenic. Arsenic is produced commercially from arsenic trioxide, which is one of the leftover byproducts of smelting copper and other metals. Arsenic is commonly used by the timber industry as a preservative for treating wood. Arsenic is also an active ingredient in many insecticides and herbicides, and it is a common additive in chicken and swine feed (apparently it is used to fatten them up). The timber industry and agriculture industry account for over 90% of environmental arsenic pollution that is not due to natural processes. (3)

    Arsenic Poisoning

    Consistent exposure to even small amounts of arsenic has been linked to several diseases, many of which are fatal. Arsenic is toxic, and it is known to cause many different cancers, including skin cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancer. Over consumption of arsenic has also been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, reproductive problems, and it is known to compromise the immune system. (4)

    Conclusion

    Arsenic is found naturally in the Earth’s crust. Both human activities and geologic activity can bring arsenic in contact with terrestrial life. Human contact with arsenic typically happens through food and water, but these are not the only means of exposure. (5)

    Sources

    (1) http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/dangerously-high-arsenic-levels-found-in-rice/
    (2) http://www.naturalnews.com/041976_brown_rice_arsenic_food_contamination.html
    (3) http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/dangerously-high-arsenic-levels-found-in-rice/
    (4) http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/consumer-reports-found-unsafe-arsenic-levels-in-rice-and-poultry-especially-brown-rice/
    (5) http://www.greenfacts.org/en/arsenic/

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