Arsenic (As)


Substance Abbreviation/ Other Names and Forms:

Arsenic- Brittle steal gray appearance
Arsenic Acid- A weak acidic solid w ith oxidizing properties, when formed with arsenic and react with nitric acids
Arsenic Trihydride- A poisonous gas (stench of garlic) made by the reaction of arsenic combining with acids
Arsenic Triodice- An extremely toxic soluble
Arsenic Triodice- An extremely toxic soluble white solid that is produced by burning arsenic
Arsenicals- Substances containing arsenic

History of use of Arsenic:

Albertus Magnus, a German philosopher, coined the term arsenic in 1250. Arsenic is found a member of the metalloids family on the table of elements. Arsenic has an atomic mass of 33.
Arsenic is found in nature (at very low levels). Arsenic is made mostly of compounds of sulfur, chlorine, and oxygen, or better known as inorganic arsenic compounds. Carbon and hydrogen arsenic compounds are found in plants and animals which is called organic arsenic. (note: organic arsenic is less harmful than the inorganic arsenic)

Inorganic arsenic compounds: preserve wood, insecticides and weed killers. Copper and lead ores also contain small amounts of arsenic.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth's curst. When arsenic is combined with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur to form inorganic arsenic compounds. Arsenic that is found in plants and animals combines with carbon and hydrogen to form organic arsenic compounds."Copper chromated arsenate" is used on the pressure treated lumber, but only in industrial applications. Organic compounds of arsenic can be found in pesticides, and on cotton fields and orchards. Organic compounds are also called arsenobetaine. Arsenic can not be destroyed, but yet it's form can alter. Arsenic compounds can dissolve in water, which explains why most of the arsenic found in water will end up in soil or sediment.

Why is arsenic considered hazardous?

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Arsenic is considered to be a very hazardous substance, because at high or low levels, it can damage the body (see short term and long term effects). Arsenic can also cause damage to the environment.

Where might we be exposed to arsenic?

• Fish and shellfish can collect arsenic
• Ingesting small amounts of food, air, or water that has been contaminated by arsenic
• Breathing in sawdust or burning smoke from wood, that has been treated with arsenic
• High arsenic levels found in rocks may cause damage to surrounding areas
• Jobs such as copper or lead smelting, wood treating, or pesticide application may cause arsenic exposure
• Many household products contain small doses of arsenic
• Arsenic can be found in ores of gold, silver, lead and copper
• Used for poisons, and in particular insecticides (calcium later replaced it)
• Now it's used in for a wood preservative, giving the wood a green outer tint

Wood logging contains arsenic in the preservatives

Many wooden playgrounds contain the arsenic in the wood finish

Pesticides and other home cleaning products contain arsenic in the ingredients

Short term/long term health effects of exposure?

Arsenic compounds are very poisonous to the environment. In low doses, the short term effects of arsenic are:
• nausea
• vomiting
• Direct contact with the skin can cause redness and swelling
• diarrhea
In larger doses, it results in:
• abnormal heartbeat,
• damage to blood vessels (Decreased blood cells, and blood vessel damage)
• and a feeling of pins and needles in hands and feet
• Small corns or warts may begin to develop on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet
• Irritation of the lungs and throat
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Long term:
• Darkening of the skin
• (If swallowed) increase the chances of tumors in the bladder, kidney, and liver
• cancer (determined by the Department of heath and Human Services)
• Inhalation results in lung cancer
• Death

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