The nutrients that you put into your body directly impact your health. If you consume water with harmful substances, bacteria, or metalloids, it could create serious issues. While not a metal, arsenic is considered a metalloid because it contains many of the same properties as metallic elements. Typically found in soil, arsenic is harmful when ingested. Unfortunately, many Americans unknowingly consume small levels of arsenic through their drinking water. There are ways to test and filter this harmful substance out of the water in your home. Before investing in arsenic water treatment, it’s important to know the facts.
Where Does Arsenic Come From?
Arsenic can be found naturally. In certain rocks and soils, arsenic is present in high concentrations. Sometimes, the arsenic found in nature seeps through the dirt and into the water supply. While nature is responsible for some of the arsenic found in drinking water, there are other sources. Fertilizer, mining, and agricultural techniques oftentimes release this harmful element into water sources and into the soil. Arsenic can remain in the soil for years. Rain water can slowly cause it to seep lower into the soil and into aquafers and underground water sources.
How Is Arsenic Harmful?
Most people aren’t exposed to high levels of arsenic. While large doses of arsenic over a short amount of time can lead to poisoning and death, typically people experience long-term exposure in smaller doses. Small doses of arsenic may not seem harmful, but they can cause life-long issues. Skin may toughen and change color, and muscle spasms as well as chronic pain are also reported. In more serious cases, cancer and organ failure may occur.
How Much Arsenic in Drinking Water Is Safe?
Ideally, there would be no traces of arsenic in drinking water. That’s a difficult thing to achieve without proper filtration devices, though. Currently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has set the standard at 10 parts per billion for arsenic. This equates to about 5 teaspoons of ink in an Olympic-sized pool. While this amount of arsenic is considered generally safe, it’s important to filter your water as much as possible to remove harmful elements.
Testing Your Water for Arsenic
There are a few different ways you can determine how much arsenic is currently present in your water. If your water is sourced though a privately-owned water company or a city, they are legally required to test the water yearly for arsenic. The report should be sent to you each year and made public. Bottled water companies aren’t required to report the quality of water that they sell. If you use one of these companies, consider contacting the supplier for more details. Well water owners are required to test and maintain their own water.
How to Remove Arsenic from Your Water
If your water tests higher than 10 ppb, it’s important to make plans to get your water from another source until the problem is remedied. Installing a water treatment system in your home is the best way to ensure that your water is clean and safe to drink. Reverse osmosis is one of the best ways to filter out contaminants and effectively remove arsenic. Whether you choose a point-of-use or point-of-entry system, your water will be purer.