Arsenic is a natural element found on earth as it is usually called the “king of poisons” and the “poison of kings” which is released both from certain human activities and naturally from the Earth’s crust. Arsenic ranks 12th in abundance in the earth’s crust, 14th in the sea water. It can exist in both inorganic and organic forms; inorganic arsenic is considered more toxic. Humans exposed to arsenic mainly through food and water, particularly in areas where the ground water is in contact with arsenic containing minerals.
Arsenic is naturally occurring contaminant in ground water formed largely as a result of minerals associated with previous volcanic activity dissolving from weathered rocks, ash and soil. However, the presence of arsenic can also be attributed to anthropogenic (human) activities including the use of herbicides. It is also classified as one of the most toxic and carcinogenic elements. As it is a carcinogen (cancer causing), so it can cause skin, lung and bladder cancer and these effects are primarily due to consumption of arsenic contaminated drinking water.
Health Impacts in Pakistan: The WHO and United States Environmental Protection Agency revised the maximal contaminant level of arsenic in drinking water as 10 mg/L. However, various studies and researches were done in Pakistan by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) and UNICEF, in which arsenic level was noted to be greater than 100 mg/L in ground water which suggested that drinking water quality in Pakistan is not good and it doesn’t meet the standards set by the WHO.
Source: Pakistan Observer