How do you know if you are exposed to arsenic?
- Do you drink water from a private well?
- Do you or your babies or children eat rice or rice products regularly?
- Do your children regularly drink apple or other juices?
- If you grow vegetables at home, have you had your soil tested?
- Do you regularly eat Hijicki seaweed?
- Does your family come in contact with pressure-treated wood?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you live near industrial or hazardous waste sites?
Everyone is exposed to some arsenic, but if you answered yes to any of the questions above, the embedded links will help you learn if you might be exposed to more arsenic on a regular basis. If you need to reduce your arsenic exposure, look for the What You Can Do action steps on each page.
Certain people are more at risk from arsenic exposure:
- Private well owners
- Pregnant women, Babies, Children
- People who regularly eat a lot of rice or rice products
- People living in parts of the country with higher levels of arsenic
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Identify all of the potential sources of arsenic in your world by scanning the pages in this website.
- Compare what you and your family eat and drink each day to the food and beverages that contain arsenic.
- Learn how to test your private well, since testing is the only way to know that water contains arsenic.
- Review What You Can Do on each page of this site to reduce your total arsenic exposure to avoid health concerns.
- If you have babies or children at home, or if you're pregnant, it's especially important to reduce your arsenic exposure as much as possible.
- If you are very concerned about arsenic, contact your doctor, the Dartmouth Superfund Research Program, the Children's Environmental Health Center at Dartmouth, your state or local health department or the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Arsenic Exposure: Animated Information
This interactive info-graphic provides an overview of exposure and health information about arsenic in water and common foods.
Is Arsenic Regulated?
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates arsenic in public water supplies.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates arsenic in bottled water.
- If you drink from a private well, it is your responsibility to test your well water for arsenic.
- There are currently no U.S. regulatory limits on arsenic in food, but there are recommendations for arsenic in baby rice cereal and apple juice.
Why is arsenic a problem?
You can't see, smell, or taste arsenic. At very high levels, arsenic can cause death or harmful health effects. In the U.S., levels of arsenic in food and water are usually too low to make you sick right away.
If you are exposed to low amounts of arsenic every day, through your food, water or other sources, you increase your risk for:
- Heart disease
- and other health concerns later in life.
Where is the arsenic?
Arsenic is a metalloid naturally found in rocks, soil, air, water, plants and animals. Arsenic has also been used in pesticides, animal feed, and certain industrial processes. Human activities that result in arsenic entering our environment include:
Burning coal for energy; mining metals; metal smelting operations; pesticide application; glass manufacture; disposal of wastewater sludges; pharmaceutical waste; livestock dips; phosphate fertilizer application; wood preservatives; and chemotherapeutic drugs.
"Arsenic has no taste, smell or color. It is in foods and beverages, drinking water, soil, pressure treated wood and cigarettes. Learn about the potential sources of arsenic in your daily life, and make simple changes to keep your arsenic exposure as low as possible to protect your long-term health." Dr. Margaret Kurzius-Spencer, University of Arizona