Arsenic poisoning and chronic arsenic exposure are easily preventable.
Knowledge - Identify your individual risk by testing your water source.
See the list of certified laboratories capable of doing such analysis here.
||Action - Identify a treatment system or remediation technique amenable to your home and lifestyle. See options below for methods designed to diminish exposure to arsenic.
Considerations before choosing a treatment option
There are two species of arsenic found in drinking water: Arsenic 3 and Arsenic 5
Arsenic 3 is very difficult to remove from water and must be oxidized to Arsenic 5 prior to removal. For an additional charge a certified laboratory can determine the species of arsenic in your water and a treatment system can be implemented to convert arsenic 3 to arsenic 5. Typically chlorine is used for the conversion.
Two types of systems are available: point-of-use (at the tap) or point of entry (whole house)
The point-of-use system is typically installed beneath your kitchen sink and is meant for drinking water. This is a cheaper option, but your other water sources will be unaffected.
The point-of-entry system is more expensive since it will treat all the water entering your house.
||Determine if other constituents are in your water, such as iron or manganese. These may inhibit the treatment system, and thus should be removed prior to installation of a treatment system.
Types of treatment systems
Treated water should be treated at least once a year. Untreated water should be treated at least every 3 years to ensure water is within safe limits.
Reverse osmosis: This system is commonly used as a point-of-use system. Typically requires pre-filtration to remove sand and grit that would otherwise clog the membrane. Advantage: Typically cheaper. Disadvantage: Considered ineffective at removing Arsenic 3.
Anion Exchange: These systems use the same principle as a water softener system. Chloride is present to convert the arsenic. This is a point-of-entry system. Advantage: Will remove Arsenic 3; requires minimal maintenance. Disadvantage: Point-of-entry systems are typically more expensive.
Using bottled water for drinking and cooking. This can be used when arsenic levels are lower. See this table for safe arsenic guidelines.