Arsenic

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  • Arsenic
    • Naturally occurring element in earth's crust
      • Present in food due to absorption from soil and water
    • FAO - long term exposure can cause cancer and skin lesions
    • Codex Alimentarius Commission recommends intake shouldn't exceed 0.2mg/kg
    • WHO: Inorganic - found in water, highly toxic. Organic - in seafood, less harmful
    • Long-term - pigmentation changes, hard patches on palms and sole of feet
      • Cancer of bladder and lungs
      • Blackfoot disease - disease of blood vessels leading to gangrene
    • Acute - vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, numbness, death
    • Prevention
      • Swap high arsenic groundwater with micro biologically safe rainwater
      • Test water for arsenic levels
      • Blend low and high arsenic water
      • Install arsenic removal systems - oxidation, ion exchange. Low cost + effective
      • Education - community understand risk
      • Monitor high risk populations for early signs of arsenic poisoning

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