What is Arsenic and Why Is It In My Water?
Arsenic is a chemical element with the atomic number 33. Arsenic is used in semiconductor electronic devices and in the production of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Arsenic is poisonous to almost all organic life.
In the U.S. arsenic is no longer used in consumer products, but is still used commercially in agriculture and manufacturing here and around the world. Arsenic is used for treatment of wood as a preservative, as a pesticide on farms, smelting and the manufacturing of glass and electronics, using scheduled releases into water supplies as disposal.
Arsenic contaminating groundwater supplies is a natural occurrence around the world. While public water systems in the U.S. adhere to strict EPA standards, there are still many areas around the U.S. where the recommended arsenic levels exceed the standard and owners of private wells must be careful to monitor their water.
What are the Health Effects of Arsenic Exposure?
Arsenic and its compounds are considered poisonous and elemental arsenic is toxic and labeled as a group 1 carcinogen. Prolonged or heavy exposure can lead to Arsenicosis (Arsenic poisoning) and the development of malignant tumors of skin and lungs, heart disease, cramps, spasms, and effects on nervous system, such as night blindness.
So far China is the only country that has set a standard for arsenic limits in food, as rice is very absorbable and is highly vulnerable to arsenic poisoning.
Does the EPA Regulate Arsenic in Groundwater?
EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million (10 parts per billion) to protect consumers served by public water systems from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic.
Arsenic Removal From Drinking Water(Source: nsf.org)
Arsenic can be found in water in two different forms:
- Pentavalent Arsenic (also known as Arsenic 5, Arsenic V, or Arsenate)
- Trivalent Arsenic (also known as Arsenic 3, Arsenic III, or Arsenite)
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters Under Sink Water Filters Countertop Water Filters Whole House Water Filters Everpure Systems and Cartridges Carbon Block Cartridges Granular Activated Carbon Cartridges Aries Filter Works Arsenic Removal Cartridges
NSF 53, 58 or
NSF/ANSI Standard 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects
Overview: Standard 53 addresses point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), that may be present in public or private drinking water.
NSF/ANSI Standard 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems
Overview: This standard was developed for point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis (RO) treatment systems. These systems typically consist of a pre-filter, RO membrane, and post-filter. Standard 58 includes contaminant reduction claims commonly treated using RO, including fluoride, hexavalent and trivalent chromium, total dissolved solids, nitrates, etc. that may be present in public or private drinking water.
NSF/ANSI Standard 62: Drinking Water Distillation Systems
Overview: Standard 62 covers distillation systems designed to reduce specific contaminants, including total arsenic, chromium, mercury, nitrate/nitrite, and microorganisms from public and private water supplies.
Sources of Information on Arsenic
- EPA – Drinking Water Arsenic Rule History
- WQA – Arsenic Fact Sheet [ Requires Acrobat ]
- OSHA – Arsenic
- Wikipedia – Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater
The foregoing information was compiled from the the links listed above.
Hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as fracking or hydrofracking) is a relatively new form of natural gas extraction.
The fluids used in the fracking process flow back to the surface, often entering the water table or polluting the drilling area, and sometimes improper disposal of waste water from the wells.
As our technology advances, so do new forms of pollution and contaminants that effect our environment and our health.
Read more about drinking water contaminants and their health effects.
Chlorine has long been recognized as an oxidative agent, meaning that it not only kills the germs in the water supply; it will damage any living tissue with which it comes in contact. And your skin, like the rest of your organs, is living tissue. But that’s not the only problem.
Since the discovery of its health benefits in the mid-1940’s, fluoride is often added to the public water supplies of industrialized countries in order to reduce the populations tooth decay, which is especially effective in low income communities, where good dental hygiene may be too costly.
Chromium-6 was found in the drinking water supply of the southern California town of Hinkley and brought to national attention by Erin Brockovich.
The EPA is reviewing effects of Chromium-6 after a recent report brought to light dangerous levels in a number of major US cities.
Giardia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestines of humans and other animals, which can cause giardiasis.
Symptoms of Giardiasis usually show after 3 to 4 days, and include gastrointestinal and constitutional problems.
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium parvum.
Since a outbreak in 1993 in Wisconson, new attention has been focused on determining and reducing the risk for Cryptosporidiosis from community and municipal water supplies.
What is ultraviolet light? Do I need to filter the water before the UV process? How exactly can light kill organisms?
Visit our ‘How Ultraviolet Purification Works‘ guide to find out how it works.
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Step by step instructions on making a connection with SharkBite Push-To-Connect fittings. SharkBite fittings allow you to connect and disconnect pipes without the need of using PVC glue or welding copper.
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Use our Pore Size Efficiency Guide to find out what micron size to use.
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Use our Pleated Sediment Cartridge Comparison to find the filter cartridge you need.
When brewing beer with tap or bottled water, chlorine and chloramine present in the water can combine with malt phenols in the wort to create a compound called chlorophenol, which can give the beer a medicinal taste.
View our Filtered Water for Home Beer Brewing guide.
Bottled water requires a lot of resources to manufacture and ship, and costs a lot more than reverse osmosis water.
Use our Bottled Water Cost Calculator to find out how much of an impact you have on the environment.