Munson Health
 
Arsenic Toxicity

Back to Document

by McCoy K

(Arsenic Poisoning)

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of acute arsenic exposure generally occur within 30-60 minutes after ingestion. These may include:
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as:
    • Metallic or garlic taste in the mouth
    • Headache
    • Vomiting, possibly with blood
    • Watery diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain
  • Paralytic symptoms, such as:
    • Cardiovascular system failure
    • Central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) slows down
    • Death, which can occur in hours
Symptoms of chronic arsenic exposure include:
  • Recurring diarrhea
  • Thickening of skin
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Small corns or warts on the palms, soles, and torso
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Partial paralysis
  • Blindness
  • Drowsiness
  • Seizures
In addition, people exposed to arsenic may be at a greater risk of developing heart disease.
 

RESOURCES

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov

US Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
http://www.ccohs.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


Arsenic. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=3. Updated March 3, 2011. Accessed February 10, 2014.


Arsenic and drinking water from private wells. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/arsenic.html. Updated May 3, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2014.


Acute arsenic poisoning. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 4, 2012. Accessed February 10, 2014.


Chen Y, Graziano JH, Parvez F, et al. Arsenic exposure from drinking water and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Bangladesh: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2011;342:d2431.


Chronic arsenic poisoning. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 30, 2012. Accessed February 10, 2014.


Fourth national report on exposure to environmental chemicals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport.pdf. Published 2009. Accessed February 10, 2014.


ToxFAQs for arsenic. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts2.pdf. Updated October 26, 2011. Accessed February 10, 2014.

 

Revision Information