What is arsenic?

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Arsenic is a chemical that is found in people’s natural environment, particularly the Earth’s crust. As a mineral and chemical substance, arsenic is classified as a metalloid and has metal-like properties. This explains why arsenic is commonly used in combination with other elements to produces stronger alloys for example. Since arsenic is naturally sourced from the Earth’s crust, traces of this chemical can often be found on soil, in the water, and even in the air. Its abundance in the natural environment makes arsenic a highly-monitored substance and this is due to the fact that it has toxic properties.

When found in water and other food items, arsenic is said to be very toxic and poisonous. Chemical and health experts always point out that various food products and the water should be carefully monitored if they are contaminated with this substance. And since arsenic is not soluble in water, it has the tendency to accumulate in the bodies of living organisms and cause poisoning of various cells.

Arsenic is said to be more abundant in rivers when compared to the oceans. Soil contamination meanwhile is more pronounced in areas near volcanoes. Arsenic found in food items such as meat products and vegetables typically come from soil and/or water contamination with arsenic. Vegetables planted on soils that contain high arsenic deposits will also get contaminated. Animals meanwhile may also get contaminated from the soil or food they eat that contains high levels of the chemical. From contamination in animals and other food sources, human beings are also exposed to the poisons of arsenic.

The amount of contamination and the chemical composition of arsenic will determine its effects on various living things including humans and animals. In extreme cases, arsenic poisoning through drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food will cause rapid poisoning in human bodies resulting to organ failure and eventual death. For some people, exposure to this chemical may also cause problems in a person’s reproductive system.

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