Toxic Metals: Arsenic


Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Water Quality - Pollutant Sources and Impacts

As ArsenicArsenic is a semi-metallic material, often grouped with the toxic metals. Compounds containing arsenic were used as long ago as Roman times and the Middle Ages as a poison in murders and suicides. Prior to the development of synthetic organic chemicals, arsenic was used as a pesticide and it still serves this purpose in parts of the world.

Arsenic can be released during the mining and smelting of metals (gold, lead, copper, and nickel), in the production of iron and steel, and in coal combustion. Hazardous waste dumps also may serve as a site for arsenic exposure. Arsenic also occurs naturally in some soil, rocks and water (see EXPLORE). Chronic exposure to arsenic can cause skin disease and cancer, while acute exposure can cause lung distress and death.

Toxic Waste


Drinking water in India contains large concentrations of arsenic.

Arsenic-Treated Wood Controversy

Poison Warning
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