Frequent Questions

What are the health effects associated with arsenic?

Human exposure to arsenic can cause both short and long term health effects.  Long term exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate. Short or acute effects can occur within hours or days of exposure. Long or chronic effects occur over many years.Short term exposure to high doses of arsenic can cause other adverse health effects, but such effects are unlikely to occur from U.S. public water supplies that are in compliance with the arsenic standard. Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness.

If you are looking for more information about health effects, please visit the Center for Disease Control's arsenic web site.

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.  Water systems must comply with this standard by January 23, 2006, providing additional protection to an estimated 13 million Americans.

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