ARSENIC: chemical symbol As
Functions of Arsenic: none, arsenic is toxic to cells.
Arsenic Poisoning Overview
Arsenic is odorless and flavourless and is very hard to detect. Arsenic is present just about everywhere in small quantities. Areas with smog and industrial emissions have higher levels of arsenic. Arsenic is also present in pesticides and ends up in the food chain and in drinking water.
Signs of Arsenic Poisoning
The following are some signs of arsenic poisoning. If you have several of these arsenic poisoning symptoms you should get tested for arsenic poisoning.
- Increased Hair Loss
- Skin Cancer
- Kidney Problems
- Rashes (eczematous, pustulating, ulcerous)Around The Nose
- Dark Gray Skin Pigmentation
- White Vertical Strips On Fingernails (called ‘Mees’ Bands’)
- Conjunctivitis of the Eyes
- Skin Folds
- Wart-like Skin Eruptions (especially inner hands and soles of feet)
- Nerve Damage
- Liver Problems
Sources of Arsenic Poisoning
- Previously Used in Some Wallpapers
- Drinking Water
- Previously Used in Some Medications
- Tobacco Smoke
- Previously Used in Some Paints
- Laundry Detergent
- Coal Combustion
- Mining and Metal Manufacturing
- Some Seafood
- Glass Production
How Arsenic Poisoning Works
After being taken up by the body, arsenic binds to tissues and is stored on a long-term basis in the liver, hair, skin, nails, and kidneys. This is implicated in the development of cancer in the liver, bronchi, and skin.
Arsenic is toxic in every form and acts as a capillary and enzymatic poison. After being takin in via intestinal tract or air, acute (sudden) or chronic (long term) poisoning develops. Acute arsenic poisoning leads to nausea and vomiting, developing into massive intestinal tract inflammation with diarrhea two hours later. With severe diarrhea serious salt and water loss usually occurs; this leads to shock, kidney failure, coma and respiratory paralysis. Should someone acutely poisoned with arsenic survive they will most likely have permanent liver and kidney damage.
WHO (World Health Organization) considers the safe tolerance level for adults to be 1 mg of arsenic per week. The toxic dose of arsenic is 10-50 mg.
Arsenic can easily be detected years after death, particularly in the hair.
Pictures of Arsenic Poisoning
These pictures show the signs of arsenic poisoning.
Arsenic Poisoning Treatment
For acute arsenic poisoning medicinal quality activated carbon should be given immediately. This is what is done in hospitals for poisonings in general and drug overdoses. Two heaping tablespoons in a cup of room temperature water should be taken as a bolus dose. Medicinal grade activated carbon (also known as activated charcoal) can be purchased here, Activated Carbon/Activated Charcoal.
For chronic exposure such as those working in an industrial situation or mining, proper advanced oral chelation (detoxing) is required. The best product for this is an FDA approved agent called DMSA (short for dimercaptosuccinic acid). DMSA is available on this site by visiting the DMSA Store. A simple urine test (called a Heavy Metals Urine Challenge) will indicate how much arsenic is in your body. The test is available at the DMSA STORE in the Urine Test area.
How To Avoid Chronic Arsenic Poisoning
Chronic arsenic poisoning may be avoided by eating foods that contain sulfer. These foods can help eliminate arsenic from your body.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Taking sulfer tablets directly will also help. Sulfer containing amino acids such as cystine B6 help eliminate arsenic and can prevent arsenic poisoning.