Arsenic

Analytical testing dots

Arsenic (As) is a metalloid with atomic number 33. This chemical element is generally used as an additives of lead in car batteries production, as well as in pesticides and herbicides. In early days, arsenic was commonly used to treat psoriasis and syphilis. However, long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic can lead to higher risk of skin cancer, lung cancer, heart diseases and even death. US EPA declares that all forms of arsenic are a serious risk to human health.

Exposure to arsenic can occur in many ways. Some jobs may expose workers to this chemical over long period of time through fumes and dusts. It is also commonly used in very high doses for suicide and homicide. In addition to that, high levels of arsenic are found in drinking water. In many parts of the world, including China, India, Mexico, and Bangladesh, the level of arsenic in the drinking water exceeded the maximum level allowed, which is 10 µg/L based on WHO provisional guideline values (1, 3). Food like rice, shellfish, poultry, and dairy products could also be the source of arsenic poisoning.