Arsenic is a natural element found widely in the earth’s crust. It may be found in some drinking water supplies, including wells. Exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause health effects.
Arsenic is a natural element found widely in the earth’s crust. It may be found in some drinking water supplies, including wells. Exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause health effects. There are trace amounts of arsenic in all living matter. For most Canadians, the primary source of exposure to arsenic is food, followed by drinking water, soil and air (Health Canada, http://hc-sc.gc.ca).
Where it comes from
Arsenic may enter lakes, rivers or underground water naturally, when mineral deposits or rocks containing arsenic dissolve. Arsenic may also get into water through the discharge of industrial wastes and by the deposit of arsenic particles in dust, or dissolved in rain or snow. These arsenic particles can enter the environment through:
- the burning of fossil fuels (especially coal);
- metal production (such as gold and base metal mining);
- agricultural use (in pesticides and feed additives); or
- waste burning (Health Canada, http://hc-sc.gc.ca)
Tasteless and Odourless but Dangerous non-the-less
As arsenic is both tasteless and odourless, you won’t be able to tell if it is in your drinking water. Arsenic in drinking water is absorbed by the body when you swallow it, and distributed by the bloodstream. It does not enter the body through the skin or by inhalation during bathing or showering.
Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic in drinking water may also cause:
- thickening and discoloration of the skin
- nausea and diarrhea
- decreased production of blood cells
- abnormal heart rhythm and blood vessel damage
- numbness in the hands and feet
Because arsenic can cause cancer, every effort should be made to keep arsenic levels in drinking water as low as possible (Health Canada, http://hc-sc.gc.ca).
If you live in an area that has natural sources of arsenic or is known to have high levels of arsenic in its groundwater, you should have your well water tested.
Buy an in-home water treatment device that can reduce the level of arsenic. Look for treatment devices that have been certified by an accredited certification organization as meeting the appropriate NSF Certified drinking water treatment unit standards for removing arsenic. These standards have been designed to safeguard drinking water.
Performance Water Systems offers the customizable Kinetico K5 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Station, including an Arsenic Guard filtration option.
The K5 removes more contaminants than any other NSF certified drinking water system and produces over 150 litres (40 gallons) a day without electricity or pumps.
Call or email Performance Water Systems today and make an appointment to speak to a Water Treatment Specialist about treating your water supply.