Medical Definition of Arsenic

Arsenic: A metallic factor that varieties a variety of toxic compounds, arsenic is present in nature at low ranges largely in compounds with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. These are referred to as inorganic arsenic compounds. Arsenic in crops and animals combines with carbon and hydrogen. That is referred to as natural arsenic. Natural arsenic is often much less dangerous than inorganic arsenic.

Most arsenic compounds don’t have any scent or particular style.
Inorganic arsenic compounds are primarily used to protect wooden. They’re additionally used to make pesticides and weed killers. Copper and lead ores comprise small quantities of arsenic.

When arsenic enters the atmosphere, it doesn’t evaporate. It will get into air when contaminated supplies are burned. It settles from the air to the bottom the place it doesn’t break down, however can change from one type to a different. Most arsenic compounds can dissolve in water. Fish and shellfish construct up natural arsenic of their tissues, however a lot of the arsenic in fish just isn’t poisonous.

Publicity to arsenic can come from:

  • Breathing office air with sawdust or burning smoke from wooden containing arsenic
  • Ingesting contaminated water, soil, or air at waste websites
  • Ingesting contaminated water, soil, or air close to areas naturally excessive in arsenic

Inorganic arsenic is a human poison. Natural arsenic is much less dangerous. Excessive ranges of inorganic arsenic in meals or water may be deadly. A excessive degree is 60 elements of arsenic per million elements of meals or water (60 ppm). Arsenic damages many tissues together with nerves, abdomen and intestines, and pores and skin. Respiratory excessive ranges may give you a sore throat and irritated lungs.

Decrease ranges of publicity to inorganic arsenic could trigger:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Decreased manufacturing of crimson and white blood cells
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Blood vessel injury
  • A “pins and needles” sensation in arms and feet

Long run publicity to inorganic arsenic could result in a darkening of the pores and skin and the looks of small “corns” or “warts” on the palms, soles, and torso. Direct pores and skin contact could trigger redness and swelling.

Arsenic is a recognized carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). Respiratory inorganic arsenic will increase the danger of lung cancer. Ingesting inorganic arsenic will increase the danger of skin cancer and tumors of the bladder, kidney, liver, and lung.

Checks can measure an individual’s publicity to excessive ranges of arsenic. These checks aren’t routinely carried out in a physician’s workplace. Arsenic may be measured within the urine. That is essentially the most dependable take a look at for arsenic publicity. Since arsenic stays within the physique solely brief time, one will need to have the take a look at quickly after publicity. Checks on hair or fingernails can measure publicity to excessive ranges of arsenic over the previous 6-12 months. These checks aren’t very helpful for low degree exposures. These checks don’t predict whether or not you’ll have any dangerous well being results.

The US Environmental Safety Company (EPA) units limits on the quantity of arsenic that industrial sources can launch. It restricted or canceled many makes use of of arsenic in pesticides and will limit extra. EPA set a restrict of 0.05 elements per million (ppm) for arsenic in ingesting water. EPA could decrease this additional. The US Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) established a most permissible publicity restrict for office airborne arsenic of 10 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³).


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