Arsenic Pollution And Arsenic Contamination

2055 Words Mar 17th, 2016 9 Pages
a. Inorganic arsenic is highly toxic and a significant public health threat throughout the world. Long-term exposure to arsenic through contaminated water can lead to arsenic poisoning and a variety of adverse health effects, including skin lesions, cancer, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. However, arsenic is highly abundant in the Earth’s crust and is naturally present across the world in the air, water, and soil. Arsenic integrates into the environment with natural processes including weathering reactions and volcanic activity, and through anthropogenic processes such as mining, fossil fuel combustion, and utilization of pesticides.
b. Although arsenic is found throughout the environment, epidemiological studies have shown that contaminated groundwater is the greatest threat to human health, and the natural occurrence of arsenic in groundwater greatly affects many communities particularly in developing areas. This paper will specifically look at the Antofagasta Region of Northern Chile where there are high levels of natural arsenic contamination in the ground water. During the 1970s there was a sudden and substantial spike of water arsenic levels in Antofagasta, leading to widespread arsenic poisoning and the eventual expansion of water treatment and mitigation in the region. These efforts to combat high arsenic levels have had significant success in lowering contamination in larger cities. However, many smaller villages of mostly the indigenous people…
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