When you want a general blood and urine analysis to check your health status, do you also think about checking the level of heavy metals in your body? Did you know that a high level of arsenic, lead, mercury, aluminium, or cadmium for example, can provoke chronic diseases, immune system weaknesses or even cancer?
Lets talk about arsenic; when you hear about arsenic, you may think about this deadly poison that kills people, like you may have red in certain novels or saw in some movies, but you certainly don’t imagine that you have some of that in your body. Well it’s actually many time the case!
But what is arsenic?
It’s a natural element that can be found in rocks and soil, water, air, and in plants and animals. It can also be released into the environment from some agricultural and industrial sources. Due to natural geological contamination, high levels of arsenic can be found in drinking water that has come from deep drilled wells. Industrial processes such as mining, smelting and coal-fired power plants all contribute to the presence of arsenic in air, water and soil. Environmental contamination also occurs because it is used in agricultural pesticides and in chemicals for timber preservation.
Most arsenic compounds have no smell or taste, so usually you can’t tell if arsenic is in your air, food, or water. Humans are exposed mainly through food and water. People can also be exposed to higher levels of arsenic in some other ways. Very high doses have been used in murder or suicide attempts. Some jobs may expose workers to high levels over long periods of time when they breathe in or swallow dust that contains arsenic compounds.
However, food is usually the largest source except in areas where drinking water is naturally contaminated with arsenic.
In the gut, soluble arsenic compounds present in food are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. Many arsenic compounds are quickly transformed and eliminated from the body via the urine. However, there are differences from one person to another in the ability to get rid of arsenic compounds.
What are the effects of arsenic on the human body?
What to do in case of high level of arsenic?