Arsenic is not something you want in your water, however, it happens. Continue reading to learn more about arsenic, including its dangers, common signs, testing methods, and what you can do to remove it from your drinking water.
What is Arsenic?
Arsenic is a naturally-occurring semi-metallic element. Since it forms naturally in the Earth’s crust, it has easy access to the soil, water, and even crops. Although traces of arsenic are normal, larger amounts can be quite detrimental to our health and more. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies arsenic as a known human carcinogen. It even used to be a standard constituent in pesticides, animal feed, and pressure-treated wood, but now it is prohibited by Federal law.
Who’s At Risk
Some regions have higher amounts of arsenic than others. Areas near mines, farms, industrial facilities, and energy plants are known to have more arsenic presence. If you live near areas like these, and rely on well water, you could be at risk of having high amounts of arsenic in your drinking water. Even if you do not live near these structures or facilities, there is still a chance that your drinking water contains unhealthy amounts of arsenic. It is important to learn the signs of arsenic presence, and to test for it properly.
Detecting Arsenic in Drinking Water
Unfortunately, arsenic does not have a color, smell, or taste. This makes it very difficult to detect without a proper test. In fact, the only method to determining if your water contains unhealthy amounts of arsenic is through testing. If you get your water through a public water system, you must have the local water supplier test the levels of arsenic in your water.
You can also request a free annual water quality report from the local water company or government public utilities department. If you have a private well, you will need to have your water testing professionally. Although you can test the water yourself by purchasing a test kit online (they will cost anywhere between $20 and $60 or so), you will need professional assistance for a concern as serious as arsenic.
To test your water professionally, start by finding a local accredited water testing laboratory. Contact them and request a test kit. When they send you the kit, follow the instructions perfectly, and then send your results into the lab. Most labs send back results through mail or email. Be sure to collect your water sample from a tap that is used often, such as the kitchen sink or bathroom faucet. Regardless of where you get your water and how you test it, experts recommend having your water testing a second time by a separate source to confirm its levels.
The EPA requires fewer than 10 parts per billion (ppb) be present. So if your results reveal traces of arsenic higher than 10 ppb, you need to immediately stop using all water in your home for consumption purposes. Some states suggest stopping use if water contains 5 ppb. To resolve an arsenic issues in your drinking water, you must incorporate professional water filtration methods and devices. Whole house water purifiers, point-of-entry treatment (POET) home water purification systems, point-of-use (POU) systems, water softeners, and more, are all common resolutions for arsenic in drinking water. Talk to a local and trusted Indianapolis water filtration expert for help deciding on the best course of action for your home.