Arsenic poisoning is the condition caused by exposure to
arsenic in high enough dose to produce health effects. Organic arsenic is
considered as less toxic form of arsenic.
Sources: Tobacco smoke, sea food, some agricultural pesticides, well
water with high arsenic level, CCA-treated wood and some homeopathic and
naturopathic preparations, and folk remedies are the sources of arsenic
Health Effects: The symptoms of arsenic poisoning begin with headaches,
confusion and drowsiness. As the poisoning develops, convulsions and changes in
fingernail pigmentation may occur. When the poisoning becomes acute, symptoms
may include diarrhea, vomiting, cramping muscles, hair loss, stomach pain, and
more convulsions. The organs of the body that are usually affected by arsenic
poisoning are the lungs, skin, kidneys, and liver. The final result of arsenic
poisoning is coma or death.
Laboratory Tests: Arsenic poisoning can be measured by testing hair,
fingernail, blood or urine of the patient. The urine test is considered as most
reliable for acute exposures. For surveillance and reporting, only 24 hour urine
and urine creatinine tests are considered as valid test.
For more information visit
ATSDR- Arsenic FAQs website.