by: Chris Tracey
Arsenic is found everywhere on Earth in small quantities, and can also be introduced into the environment by industrial processes or poultry farming. However, there are some areas where naturally occurring arsenic is present in far greater quantities than average. At least 10%, and perhaps as many as 20%, of Americans live in areas where dangerous amounts of arsenic are present in the water supply. Using an arsenic water filter
provides full protection against this risk.
Naturally occurring arsenic is almost never concentrated enough to cause outright poisoning. Its effects are more insidious than that – the nervous system is damaged and slowly degraded by drinking arsenic-filled water, while bladder and kidney cancer rates are far higher in arsenic-rich areas. Clearly, it is a good idea to determine if arsenic is present in higher than normal concentrations and, if it is, to prevent its effects with a dedicated filtration system. Some resources you can use to discover whether or not elevated arsenic levels are present in your local water supply include:
- Water utilities are required by the EPA to test for contaminants and provide information on them to people who ask. Assuming that you don't have your own well, your utility company probably can confirm if your water is safe and arsenic-free.
- Asking your local health department, housing department, or other official metropolitan agency whether there is an arsenic risk is another of the fastest, cheapest, and most accurate methods of determining if you need an arsenic water filter. Of course, this information may not be readily available for all locations. Testing may be absent in small towns or outlying areas, for example. However, this is a logical first place to inquire.
- Internet searches for local water problem information may be fruitful in some locations. In this case, the closest you are likely to get to being assured there is no arsenic in your water is an absence of warnings.
- Hiring a company to test your water is an expensive option, but may be your only choice if you cannot find accurate information in any other way. The main advantage to this method is that it will be decisively determined whether or not your water is tainted with arsenic.
Reverse osmosis water filters are usually effective in removing arsenic from your water (and practically every other contaminant, too). In this arrangement, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane which blocks nearly all chemicals and particles, flushing them away down the drain through an exit pipe. Since reverse osmosis filters are complex, they are usually permanently mounted as undersink filters, but the extra effort is well worth it to protect yourself and your family from the risks of naturally occurring arsenic being present in your drinking water.