Arsenic – even in many of its compound forms – is an extremely potent poison. Arsenic attacks the cellular metabolism (disrupts ATP production) through several mechanisms causing abdominal pain, fever, goiter, kidney and liver damage, muscular spasms, vertigo and weakness. High levels of exposure lead to multi-system organ failure and death. Arsenic and arsenic compounds are also recognized as group 1 carcinogens.
Found in pesticides, beer, table salt, water, paints, cosmetics and contaminated food, Arsenic was also a common wood preservative which was not banned until quite recently (2004) in Canada and the United States.
Inorganic Arsenic and its compounds are still used in industries such as: wood preservation, glass production, nonferrous metal alloys, and electronic semiconductor manufacturing. Inorganic arsenic is also found in coke oven emissions associated with the smelter industry. Persons working in such industries will want to be tested for occupational exposure and poisoning.