In this article, we’ll show you How to Remove Arsenic from Water. Arsenic is a highly toxic element that occurs naturally in groundwater and soils. Some industrial and agricultural processes also increase the risk of arsenic contamination to water, air, and soil. In fact, the EPA classify arsenic as a carcinogen. The arsenic concentrations may vary from one region to the other. Therefore, when arsenic levels are too high in a given region, it becomes crucial to remove it from the drinking water.
So, how do you remove arsenic from water?
You can remove arsenic in water using different water treatment processes. They include reverse osmosis (RO), distillation, and ion exchange. RO systems remove over 95% of arsenic. While Distillation and ion exchange eliminates over 98 % and 90 % respectively.
Details. How to Remove Arsenic from Water
1. Arsenic Removal from Water by Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the most cost effective way of removing arsenic from water. The process forces water through a built in selective membrane. What happens is that, the membrane contains tiny pores whose aim is to enable water molecules pass through. During this process, removal of large inorganic molecules like arsenic, iron, lead, and chromium takes place. RO can remove over 95% of arsenic.
The good thing is that you can install an RO system in your house commonly referred to as point-of-use systems. With this system in place, you’re assured of at least 3 gallons per day of arsenic free drinking water. You’ll also get to eliminate other contaminants like sand, grit, unpleasant taste and odors.
2. Distillation Removes Arsenic from Water
Distillation is another effective method of removing arsenic from drinking water. This process removes over 98 % of arsenic from water and other dissolved substances that are threatening the safety of your water.
3. Ion Exchange to remove arsenic
The ion exchange is a chemical process that involves the exchange of ions between the resin bed and the presumed contaminated water. This process removes water hardness, lowers arsenic levels, and eliminates manganese and iron from water.
The ion exchange process is widely used for arsenic removal because of its high effectiveness and efficiency in arsenic removal. It’s also easy to operate and it’s cost effective.
Does Water Softener Remove Arsenic
The simple answer is NO. water softeners don’t remove arsenic from drinking water. In fact, other household water treatments options like sediment filters, bleach or chlorine disinfection, and activated carbon filters like Brita Pur also don’t remove arsenic.
Water softeners work is to remove ions like calcium that contribute to water hardness.
Can Boiling Water Remove Arsenic
Unfortunately, no. boiling or heating water cannot remove arsenic. During the boiling process, some water evaporates and arsenic concentration increases. The best-recommended methods for arsenic removal as we’ve discussed above are reverse osmosis, distillation, and ion exchange.
Is Arsenic in Water Dangerous
The honest answer is yes. Drinking water that has little levels of arsenic over a long time can increase the risk of certain types of cancers and other severe health effects. On the other hand, Consuming high levels of arsenic over a short period can cause poisoning.
Furthermore, arsenic studies indicate that arsenic can affect the body and display symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, skin thickening and discoloration, blindness, and numbness of both feet and hands.
On top of that, exposure to arsenic in drinking water can cause low IQ levels among children. It can also be dangerous for fetal development.
Acceptable Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water
Water should not contain arsenic or any other contaminant. However, there are certain acceptable contaminant levels for water set by the EPA for different contaminants.
In the case of arsenic, the agency allows 10 parts per billion (ppb). This amount is equivalent to 5 teaspoonful of liquid in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Although, it’s a requirement for public water systems to lower the arsenic levels in water to below 10ppb, private well owners have no set limit. So it’s upon them to test the water for arsenic or consult an expert to assess the condition of the well.
Is It Safe To Bathe In Water With Arsenic?
Well, arsenic doesn’t get into the body through the skin. Therefore, bathing, showering, or swimming with water that contains arsenic is safe. However, you should avoid swallowing the water. Ensure you supervise children properly while they are brushing teeth or bathing to prevent them from swallowing the water.
As long as the arsenic level is below 500ppb, you can even do other household chores like washing utensils and not experience any negative effects.
Can Arsenic in Water Be Absorbed Through the Skin?
Only small amount of arsenic can be absorbed through the skin. The biggest source of arsenic remains the food we consume. Foods like fish, seafood, and vegetables have certain levels of arsenic. Nevertheless, arsenic found in ground water can get into the body via drinking water or partaking in foods cooked with arsenic water. Arsenic doesn’t evaporate into the air, thus, it cannot be absorbed through the skin.
Can I wash my food in arsenic contaminated water?
Well, it depends with the level of arsenic in your water. For instance, if the arsenic level is over 35ppb, children and infants are at an increased risk of becoming sick. Therefore, only use water that is safe to prepare and cook food.
Can I Give My Pet Arsenic-Contaminated Water?
Well, I will advise that you give your pet the same water you would safely drink. If you’re unsure about the source of your water or suspect any water contamination avoid giving the water to your pet. Arsenic can have negative consequences on animals.
So, What Actions Can You Take To Reduce Your Exposure to Arsenic in Drinking Water
The best technique of reducing your exposure to arsenic is to pay close attention to your water. Ensure, you carefully check the annual water report provided by your local water company. The law mandates all public water suppliers to reveal the level of arsenic and other contaminants in drinking water.
If you use a private well, it’s your responsibility to have it tested for arsenic and other contaminants. Have the tests done annually so you’ll know what’s in your water and take necessary actions.
It is crucial for well owners and those who depend on city water to test their water on a regular basis for arsenic and other contaminants. We’ve mentioned the best methods for removing arsenic in drinking water are reverse osmosis, distillation, and ion exchange.
If the water test confirms that, your water has arsenic ensure you, use water treatment devices that conform to EPA standards and are NFS/ANSI certified.
As a consumer, you should also demand from the manufacturer a system performance guarantee . Otherwise, if properly installed and maintained, these point-of-use systems should provide uninterrupted supply of clean water sufficient to meet all your daily drinking and cooking water demands.