Andy Joy's Blog for Life Science | BioPharma Professionals

Hazards/Symptoms of RCRA 8 Metals: Arsenic

Posted by Mark Campanale on Jan 31, 2011 9:43:00 AM

Andy Joy, Life Sciences Epertby Andy Joy, Life Sciences Account Manager

Most of us are all aware of the RCRA 8’s (Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury, Selenium, and Silver).  For those who aren’t or are new to the industry, these metals are ones not to take likely.  I mean, they have their own “designated name.”

I’ll begin with Arsenic.  You might not believe this, but ArsenicArsenic is one of the RCRA 8 is found in food, water, and many household items; but in very limited quantities.  It’s also found in tobacco smoke, laundry detergent, seafood, and beer.  Even though the benefits are not known, it is believed that arsenic is essential in trace amounts; especially for your digestive system.  Toxicity occurs if doses are larger than 250 mcg/day (most diets have about 140 mcg/day).

Symptoms of arsenic poisoning starts with headaches, confusion, and drowsiness; as the poisoning furthers, convulsions and changes in fingernail pigmentation occurs.  Once acute, then diarrhea, vomiting, blood in the urine, cramping muscles, and hair loss ensues.  If the arsenic exposure is more chronic, this ultimately leads to many types of cancer: skin cancer, liver cancer, and lung cancer, as well as hair loss and fingernail pigmentation.

Symptoms of Arsenic poisoning

One interesting fact I found is that if you feel you have been exposed to arsenic, your must include lots of sulfur in your diet (not elemental sulfur, of course).  Some foods that contain a high content of sulfur are: eggs, onions, beans, legumes, and garlic.  Or you can go the more direct route and buy sulfur tablets (but please consult your doctor first).

Does anyone else know of any other ways to combat arsenic once the recommended amount is exceeded?