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What is arsenic?

Arsenic is a naturally occurring, common element found in the earth’s crust. Very low levels of arsenic are also present in plants and foods such as fish as well as in the air. Arsenic is typically found in combination with other elements - arsenic compounds - and has no distinctive taste or smell. Many of these compounds occur naturally but
some are man-made.

Why the concern over arsenic if it occurs in nature?

At very low levels, there is relatively little concern. The body may even need very small amounts of arsenic. However, new evidence shows the amount of arsenic that can cause health problems is lower than previously thought. Most people consume small amounts of arsenic in the food they eat, but drinking water with even low to moderate levels of arsenic can provide more than is safe. And the most toxic form of
arsenic, known as inorganic arsenic, is the form typically found in groundwater. Studies have shown that people drinking well water with elevated levels of arsenic have higher risks of some diseases.