Researchers at Columbia University have discovered that arsenic, even in small amounts, is very harmful for our health and it can cause various health problems. It is particularly damaging for children as it can prevent their brain from developing properly. The frightening fact is that we take in arsenic daily, through water. And don’t think that your water is clear of arsenic, because every water system is somewhat contaminated with this toxin. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in some areas arsenic naturally occurs in excessive concentrations. This is why it is very important to get the water that you drink tested daily, in order to avoid arsenic intoxication and its negative effects on your brain.
According to a research conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), exposure to arsenic may lead to memory loss and emotional instability in people, and children who have been exposed to arsenic from a young age may have developmental problems which can lead to unsuccessful processes of programming in the brain. This means that a chronic exposure to arsenic may affect cognitive function in children, making them less intelligent than they could be without the influence of this toxin. A study on the association between arsenic exposure and behavior among first graders, conducted in Mexico in 2007, showed that chronic indigestion of arsenic made these children less able to learn language and vocabulary, and develop a hyperactive behavior disorder. The children in question also showed poor math skills, memory and overall cognition.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) changed the standard for acceptable arsenic level in drinking water from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb or less in 2002. However, this level of arsenic is still very dangerous, since the study conducted at Columbia University showed that IQ of those children taking in 5ppb or more may be affected, alongside their mental development. Another issue is that EPA standard applies only to public water wells, but not for private ones. That means that people who use private wells need to take the initiative and get their water tested frequently on their own. The problem is that people get relaxed and negligent and they forget to get their water tested or they hope for the best and convince themselves that nothing is wrong. But, according to the WHO, the effects of arsenic are delayed and you won’t know you are affected by this toxin until it gets bad, and that is why it is important to make sure you prevent this by drinking water that contains low concentration of arsenic.