Arsenic compounds are widely distributed in the environment. In nature organic arsenic compounds are found in soil and work their way up the food chain via plants. Studies show that theses simple organic forms are less toxic than their inorganic counterparts.
Inorganic arsenic compounds are used in the production of lead-acid batteries, for metal smelting, as insecticides, wood preservatives, and from the combustion of coal.
The EPA has determined that inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen. High levels of arsenic can cause pulmonary and skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, heart arrhythmia, and very high levels can be fatal. Several studies suggest that chronic exposure can lower IQ levels in children. In vitro exposure can also cause several fetal issues such as low birth weight, malformation, and death.
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