A rather toxic element, particularly as its oxide, causing arsenicosis. Seventy milligrams of arsenic is likely to be acutely fatal and you want less than 170µg/l in water supplies to avoid chronic toxicity. It induces a large number of malignancies on chronic exposure. Toxicity is enhanced in the malnourished. Toxicity is also associated with cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias.
There is indirect evidence that it is also essential to the human organism and you probably require an intake of between 12-50 µg/day, which is obtainable from a balanced diet. Deficiency in mammals causes growth retardation, reproductive problems and mutations in offspring.
Arsenic as acetarsol suppositories (3-acetamido-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid) is, very rarely, used in treating resistant proctitis. Arsenic trioxide has also been used as chemotherapy for a number of malignancies (haematological in the main).
- ↑ Uthus EO, Seaborn CD. Deliberations and evaluations of the approaches, endpoints and paradigms for dietary recommendations of the other trace elements. The Journal of nutrition. 1996 Sep; 126(9 Suppl):2452S-2459S.
- ↑ Forbes A, Britton TC, House IM, Gazzard BG. Safety and efficacy of acetarsol suppositories in unresponsive proctitis. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics. 1989 Dec; 3(6):553-6.