Arsenic is a poisonous substance that is known to cause cancer and many other serious health problems. There are parts of the world where the drinking water is high in arsenic. These include locations in Bangladesh, Taiwan, and Chile. Recent research from Bangladesh has indicted that arsenic even plays a role in heart disease. This has prompted U.S. researchers to take a closer look at the relation between arsenic and heart disease in our own country.

A very direct relationship between heart disease and the amount of arsenic in the drinking water has been found. As arsenic levels increase, so does the incidences of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack. For those with chronic exposure to arsenic, rates of cardiovascular illness were often doubled. The problem turned out to be particularly significant in the Southwest, the upper Midwest and northern New England. The Environmental Protection Agency sets a 10 parts-per-billion safety standard for drinking water. However, only municipal water utilities are required to meet this standard, and many consider the standard to be far too lax to begin. Private wells have been measured at much higher levels, in some cases, more than a hundred times higher. Cardiovascular disease rates were often doubled for those with higher exposure to arsenic.

A growing number of researchers are concerned regarding environmental exposures and the risk of heart disease. The new interest in metallic compounds has led to a new understanding of how metallic elements like arsenic and cadmium in water can affect blood pressure as early as adolescence. Irregular heartbeats and the development of diabetes are other effects.

Exposing yourself to arsenic is a very bad idea, but in the U.S., you don’t even have to live in an area that is high in arsenic. We add this poison to our drinking water! More than 60 percent of U.S. water supplies are fluoridated, and most fluoridated water contains arsenic because the arsenic is a contaminant in the fluoride product added to the water. Ninety percent of the fluoride used to fluoridate U.S. water is a toxic waste that comes from the pollution-scrubbing devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry. The most common contaminant found in this product is arsenic. In 2001, the National Research Council warned “Even very low concentrations of arsenic in drinking water appear to be associated with a higher incidence of cancer.” The solution to this problem is to use a high-quality reverse osmosis filtration system to filter your drinking water.