Arsenic is a toxic substance
, the ingestion of a large amount of which can kill a person in short order. Despite its dangers, low doses of arsenic were at one time used in pesticides and in some medical products. Amazingly, arsenic is still used in certain pressure treated wood products. In fact, many playgrounds, docks, and backyard decks have been constructed with such wood. Experts are growing increasingly concerned about arsenic escaping from pressure treated wood and contaminating surrounding soil and groundwater.
While low dose ingestion does not have immediate fatal consequences, studies have shown that prolonged arsenic exposure significantly increases the risk of contracting various forms of cancer
The first visible symptoms of arsenic exposure include melanosis
(spots on the skin) and keratosis
(broken, spotty skin). Approximately ten years after exposure to arsenic, the likelihood of contracting skin cancer increases. Twenty to thirty years after exposure, lung
, liver, bladder, and kidney cancers tend to appear.
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted a tougher standard for arsenic exposure, reducing the acceptable level of exposure from fifty parts per billion to ten parts per billion. Drinking water supplies are the most common source of arsenic exposure.
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems because of exposure to arsenic. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Toxic & Hazardous Substances
- Heart Failure: Overview
- High Blood Pressure (hypertension): Overview
- Keratosis: Overview
- Melanosis: Overview
- Arsenic: Frequently Asked Questions