Do you drink your water from a well out back? Then routinely testing for possible arsenic exposure is on you. Because arsenic is odorless, tasteless and colorless, the only way to know if arsenic is in your water is to test for it.
Why bother? Chronic exposure to arsenic can buildup in some to poisonous levels, thus causing irreversible organ damage and increasing your risk of certain cancers. And testing yourself for low level exposure isn’t available. So that leaves the well.
Symptoms of exposure can be highly varied, yet pigment changes in the form raindrop looking dark or white spots, along with keratosis are indicators that chronic arsenic poisoning may be an issue. An early sign of arsenic poisoning is peripheral neuropathy, causing paresthesia symptoms in both hands and feet. Additionally, low level exposure to arsenic can cause a myriad of non specific symptoms that can be attributable to other health conditions.
The ingestion of a large quantity of arsenic is very often fatal. For those that do survive, acute arsenic poisoning can cause some harrowing symptoms, including:
- garlic breath
- metallic taste
- loss of appetite
- vision problems
- nausea, vomiting
- weakness, fatigue
- puffy face, eyelids
- abnormal heart rhythm
- impaired nerve function
- sore throat, runny nose
- excessive saliva & tearing
Arsenic being the cause of these symptoms might be missed because some might be attributed to health problems, like a cold or flu.
Despite the potential for fatal toxicity, there is really no effective treatment for arsenic poisoning. Chelation therapy may help relieve symptoms by reducing the amount of it in your body.
Although drinking water is a source of arsenic, you can be exposed to it in other ways, like the air or food.