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Arsenic in Water

ClearPlus TITAN-Ox 7 Arsenic Reduction Filter

ClearPlus TITAN-Ox 7 Arsenic Reduction Filter

MSRP: US$2,595.00
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What is arsenic?

Arsenic is a semi-metallic element with the chemical symbol "As." It is a member of the nitrogen family, occurs naturally in rocks and soils, and can contaminate water that comes in contact with these rocks and soils. Arsenic is odorless and tasteless. It can combine with other elements to form inorganic and organic arsenicals. In general, inorganic derivatives are regarded as more toxic than the organic forms. While food can contain both inorganic and organic arsenicals, primarily inorganic forms are present in water.

What are the effects of arsenic in water?

Exposure to arsenic at high levels poses potentially serious health effects as it is a known human carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent. It has also been reported to affect the vascular system in humans and has been associated with the development of diabetes.

Observable symptoms of arsenic poisoning are: thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis, and blindness.

Well water in certain regions of the U.S. (particularly in the southwest), can exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for arsenic in drinking water. Your state's Department of Natural Resources or Geological Survey Office should be able to inform you if your area is prone to the presence of high levels of arsenic. Similarly, well water in many regions of Canada is contaminated with naturally-occurring arsenic levels that exceed Health Canada's guidelines. Your local health authority can help you determine if arsenic is common in well water in your region.

How is arsenic removed from water

The most effective treatment for arsenic is adsorption using titanium dioxide media. While more effective at removing Arsenate (Pentavalent Arsenic / Arsenic 5 / Arsenic V), it is also very effective at removing Arsenite (Trivalent Arsenic / Arsenic 3 / Arsenic III). In fact, it is one of the few treatments that offer high removal rates for both primary forms of arsenic without pre-oxidation. Adsorption with titanium dioxide media is typically done on a whole-house basis. The media is relatively expensive but has a very long life if pre-treatment for heavy metals like iron and manganese is done (when these contaminants are present). Accordingly, this form of treatment is usually very successful and also cost effective.

If significant iron is present, some arsenic reduction can normally be accomplished with a traditional iron filter. This side-effect of iron treatment occurs because iron filters typically transform dissolved iron into iron hydroxide particles, which remove arsenic. Some water treatment technicians have begun using iron-based treatment media to remove arsenic, however, these systems are less effective than titanium dioxide and, due to the heavy weight of the ferric hydroxide medias, they are difficult to backwash and are prone to clogging.

For drinking water, reverse osmosis systems are effective in treating certain forms of arsenic contamination. If your water supply is contaminated with Trivalent arsenic (also known as Arsenic 3, Arsenic III, or Arsenite), you should pre-chlorinate your water to transform the Trivalent arsenic into Pentavalent arsenic (also known as Arsenic 5, Arsenic V, or Arsenate) which can be removed with a reverse osmosis system.

If you have arsenic in your water we recommend the following arsenic water filters:

Pentek RO-2550 4-Stage NSF-Validated Reverse Osmosis System
Part# RO-2550
Pentek RO-2550 4-Stage NSF-Validated Reverse Osmosis System
premium performance-validated brand-name reverse osmosis system

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Titan-Ox™ Series Arsenic & Heavy Metal Reduction Filters
Titan-Ox™ Series Arsenic & Heavy Metal Reduction Filters
highly effective and economical treatment for the removal of arsenic, uranium, lead, and other heavy metals

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Frequently Asked Questions About Arsenic

How much arsenic is safe in water

The USEPA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water at 0.010 mg/L or 10 parts per billion. Although this is the level that the USEPA enforces, they state that the level of arsenic in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health is zero.

How can arsenic get into a drinking water supply?

Arsenic is naturally found in mineral deposits in rocks and soils, and can contaminate water that it comes in contact with. Arsenic can also enter the drinking water supply through manmade sources including the discharge of industrial wastes, the burning of fossil fuels, metal production & mining, the incorrect application of pesticides and feed additives, and waste burning.

Does reverse osmosis remove arsenic from water?

Yes, reverse osmosis can be used to remove pentavalent arsenic (also known as Arsenic 5, Arsenic V, or Arsenate). Reverse osmosis will not remove trivalent arsenic. If you have trivalent arsenic (also known as Arsenic 3, Arsenic III, or Arsenite), you should pre-chlorinate your water to transform the trivalent arsenic into pentavalent arsenic before using reverse osmosis for treatment.

Does boiling water remove arsenic?

No, boiling water is not an effective treatment for arsenic in water. As the water is heated some may evaporate, actually increasing the arsenic concentration in the water.

Do Brita water filters remove arsenic?

No, according to a 2017 study done by Dartmouth College, Brita water filters do not remove arsenic.

How to test for arsenic in water?

Testing for arsenic in your water can be done either with a home arsenic test kit like the ITS Arsenic Quick II Mini Test Kit, or by taking a water sample to a certified water testing laboratory.