Arsenic is a well-known inorganic element, and it is one of the many routinely monitored contaminants in drinking water. WETLAB tests for Arsenic in drinking water through EPA Method 200.7 and 200.8. But how does Arsenic make its way into drinking water, and what are the potential health effects from increased Arsenic load?
The EPA requires that ground water systems monitor for Arsenic every three years, and surface water systems every year. These frequencies may be increased if Arsenic is found to be at or above the MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level), defined as 10ppb (parts per billion). This MCL was lowered from 50ppb in 2001 to better protect public health.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in soils and rocks, and is also a by-product of several industrial and agricultural processes. Drinking water contamination can occur from naturally eroding deposits, and from runoff of various processes. Some water will be naturally higher in Arsenic due to the rocks and soils that make up the aquifer. Arsenic contamination can be treated in many ways, including Iron treatment and adsorption, which helps precipitate Arsenic out of water.
Ingesting water with Arsenic levels greater than the MCL can cause adverse health effects if the water is consumed for many years. These health effects include skin damage, circulatory problems, and an increased risk of various cancers.
To find out more about Arsenic in drinking water, visit this guide, published by the EPA.