As a natural part of the earth, Arsenic can be found all around us and it can be distributed throughout our environment through the air, land and water – including our drinking water. Inorganic arsenic can be naturally present in ground water in countries such as Argentina, China, Mexico and the United States of America. States such as New Hampshire, Maine, Michigan, and regions in the Southwest and the Rockies usually see a higher level of arsenic in drinking water due to bedrocks.
Although it can contaminate drinking water when it comes in contact with rocks and soil, our drinking water also runs the risk of becoming contaminated with Arsenic through industrial and agricultural pollution.
When reporting on arsenic in drinking water and private wells, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention stated that some industries in the United States release thousands of pounds of this semi-metallic element into the air every year. “Once released, arsenic remains in the environment for a long time. Arsenic is removed from the air by rain, snow, and gradual settling. Once on the ground or in surface water, arsenic can slowly enter ground water,” states the CDC.
You can remove arsenic from your water by using a water cooler with reverse osmosis built-in, a process that forces water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure that will leave contaminants behind and dispense more pure and healthy drinking water.
Because Arsenic is odorless and tasteless, it can go undetected and affect the human body with symptoms such as thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis, and blindness. In addition, long-term exposure to arsenic can have more chronic symptoms.
As stated by the World Health Organization, “Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic, mainly through drinking of contaminated water, eating of food prepared with this water and eating food irrigated with arsenic-rich water, can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects.”
A study done by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2000 found “it was likely that as many as 56 million people in 25 states were drinking water with arsenic at levels that posed a high risk of cancer.” Although that number has dropped as a result of the EPA changing the arsenic standard that was originally set in the 1960s, the contaminant is still worth bring protected from – at least in our drinking water to prevent consumption into our bodies.
With such health concerns, people often wonder how to remove Arsenic from water, and you’ll need more than a standard carbon filter. Typically good for removing more common contaminants such as chlorine, pollen, or pesticide, a carbon filtration system won’t do the trick at removing this undetected contaminant.
Arsenic removal from water is recommended with a Reverse Osmosis System within your home or within a point-of-use water dispenser for clean drinking water. Reverse Osmosis is a process that forces water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure that will leave contaminants behind and dispense more pure and healthy drinking water. Although most reverse osmosis systems are effective at removing arsenic as well as lead, pesticides and cysts, the semipermeable membrane within the system can grow over time as contaminants are continually pressured against it. Regular maintenance of your RO system can make sure arsenic filration will continue working as it should.
For more information on what filtration to use in order to remove arsenic or other contaminants, please visit Waterlogic’s Contaminant Removal Chart for the full list of their recommended filters.