Dining with Arsenic Do you know how much arsenic you consume?

WHat is arsenic?

Arsenic is a commonly used poison that can be found in everything. For instance, drinking water, food, farm animals, soil, workplaces and in the air. There are organic and inorganic forms of arsenic. However, not all are harmful. For the most part, it is never found alone in nature.


Albertus Magnus is often accredited with the discovery of arsenic during the 12th century. Arsenic dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. Mineral forms have also been discovered from the 4th century B.C.


Arsenic is used as a medication for several farm animals which means that we consume it when we eat them. The average turkey that consumes arsenic in their feed has about 30-50 milligrams(mg) per kilogram(kg). Since the average male turkey weighs 9kg, we can consume up to 270-450mg of arsenic in one meal.


In 2000, 36 million Americans drank water with arsenic levels above the national standard. According to the FDA, bottled water can have up to 0.05 milligrams per liter of arsenic.

an apple a day keeps the doctor away

Large amounts of arsenic have recently been discovered in apple juice. In the article Forbidden Fruit: How to Handle Arsenic in Apples, Patty Jen Arndt states, "Some of the arsenic in apples comes from an insecticide that was banned from U.S. agriculture in the 1980s (PDF), but the residues still linger in the soil. And, some arsenic simply occurs naturally in the ground, where it can contaminate the water used for irrigation and get sucked up by apple trees. So, apple juice that comes from American apples, even organic apples, can still be contaminated with arsenic."

Brussels sprouts

According to Cottingham's research, "Inorganic arsenic that exists in soil is highly attracted to sulfur compounds in brussels sprouts, along with other "super-veggies" in the cruciferous family, including kale, broccoli, and cauliflower."

Arsenic in Wine

Just like apple juice, the water used for wine contains arsenic. A Dartmouth study claims that, "Women who drank five to six glasses of wine per week had levels 20 percent higher than non-consumers."

Arsenic can also be found in chicken(top left), drinking water(top right), brown rice(bottom left), and beer(bottom right).


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