Arsenic Essay

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A huge fascination of arsenic started in the 19th century when people got word of a province in southeastern Austria where people ate arsenic. Women would eat arsenic to help gain weight and fix their complexion to look more beautiful and men would eat arsenic because they believed it helped them breath easier when they were climbing high up in the mountains. One doctor by the name of Dr. Robert Craig MacLagan, was particularly interested in this and visited the town to see for himself what was really occurring. He observed the people and tested their urine to prove that they have been indeed ingesting arsenic. He wrote about the things he witnessed in the Edinburgh Medical Journal. The men in the town would eat 6 grains/dose at least twice a week, sometimes eating it on their bread or just drinking it with their water. As a result many Victorians began self-medicating themselves with arsenic.
The first time that a limit was set on arsenic levels in drinking water to 50 µg/L was in 1942. The EPA did not officially acknowledge this standard until 1975. In 1993 the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that the drinking water standard be lowered to 10 µg/L. Seven years later in 2000, the FDA approved the used of arsenic trioxide for leukemia chemotherapy. Finally, in 2001 the EPA officially lowered the arsenic drinking water standard to 10 µg/L.

Sources of Exposure
Arsenic is the 20th most common element in the earth’s crust and can be found naturally in our environment. There is around 0.006 to 0.03 ppm or arsenic distributed in seawater, and 20 ppm of arsenic in soil (before pesticides). Every human will ingest about 0.5 to 1 mg of arsenic in a day from food and water, because arsenic is present in higher quantities in se...

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...norganic form. The glutathione conjugation has proven to excrete arsenic compounds from inside the cell. Most arsenicals are conjugated with GSH in the liver and transported outside the cells. However, in some cases it cannot be said for certain if GSH is conjugated with certain arsenicals enzymatically or non-enzymatically. GSH reduces arsenate to arsenite and arsenite is then complexed. Its suggested that As(III) can be regulated by the presence of GSH. Glutathione S-transferase-omega (GSTO) is another compound under scrutiny because it is believed that this compound assists in the formation of arsenic-glutathione conjugates. Recent studies have focused on AS3MT as one of the main enzymes involved in the metabolism of inorganic arsenic because it may be used to convert iAs to MMAV and DMAV. However, in some cases it has been seen that AS3MT is inhibited by As(III)

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