Long-term high exposure to arsenic through drinking water can cause cancer and skin lesions.

sources of exposure
Arsenic is found in the environment in air, water and soil. In its inorganic form, however, it is highly toxic.

Humans are exposed to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic via contaminated water.

Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most typical consequences.

Possible health effects

In the long term, high arsenic exposure via drinking water can be the cause:
- Vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Tingling in the extremities
- muscle cramps
- Cancer
- Skin changes
- Diabetes, lung and cardiovascular diseases
- Adverse pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality
- Lung diseases, heart attacks and kidney failure
- Effects on cognitive development, intelligence and memory
- Death

Inorganic arsenic has been shown to be carcinogenic and highly toxic. It represents the greatest chemical contamination of drinking water worldwide. Arsenic can also occur in organic form and is then less harmful to health.

Acute Effects
Immediate symptoms of acute arsenic poisoning include vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. This is followed by numbness and tingling in the extremities, muscle spasms and, in extreme cases, death.

Long term effects
The first symptoms of arsenic poisoning usually appear on the skin and include pigment changes, skin lesions, and hard patches on the palms and soles (hyperkeratosis). You must have been exposed to arsenic for at least years.

In addition to skin cancer, long-term arsenic exposure can also lead to bladder and lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified arsenic and arsenic compounds as carcinogenic to humans.

Other adverse health effects include: developmental disorders, diabetes, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. In particular, heart attacks triggered by arsenic can mean increased mortality.

Arsenic is also associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality. It can also affect the health of children: exposure to high levels of arsenic at a young age increases mortality among young adults from various cancers, lung diseases, heart attacks, and. Numerous studies have shown negative effects of arsenic exposure on cognitive development, intelligence and memory (3).