Arsenic
EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Inorganic Chemicals
EPA Levels 1,2 7 MCLG (mg/L)
0.010 as of 01/23/06 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names none
Sources Erosion of natural deposits; runoff from orchards, runoff from glass & electronicsproduction wastes
Arsenic contaminates drinking water due to mining runoff, erosion of natural deposits, emissions from glass and electronics processing and the use of arsenical compounds as wood preservatives and pesticides.

Overview

Arsenic is a semi-metal element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless. It enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.

Uses

Approximately 90 percent of industrial arsenic in the U.S. is currently used as a wood preservative, but arsenic is also used in paints, dyes, metals, drugs, soaps, and semi-conductors. Agricultural applications, mining, and smelting also contribute to arsenic releases in the environment.

Health Effects

Some people who drink water containingarsenic well in excess of the MCL for many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

EPA Data Source: Arsenic

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.