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The Health Dangers of Inorganic Arsenic in Your Drinking Water

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

Pure water is one of the most important foundations for optimal health. Unfortunately, most tap water is far from pure, containing a vast array of disinfection byproducts, chemicals, heavy metals and even pharmaceutical drugs. Fluoride and arsenic are two prime examples of hazardous water contaminants.

Not only is the level of arsenic in US tap water high due to natural groundwater contamination, the most commonly used form of fluoride added to water supplies also tends to be contaminated with arsenic. As reported by the featured article:

"In early August, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to decide on a petition to change the source of fluoride in US drinking water.

Currently, the source of fluoride in most public water supplies is fluorosilicic acid, according to government records. The petition calls for the EPA to instead require the use of pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride in water fluoridation, which is the addition of fluoride to drinking water for the purpose of preventing cavities.

Fluorosilicic acid is often contaminated with arsenic, and recent research has linked the arsenic from fluorosilicic acid in drinking water to as many as 1,800 extra cases of cancer yearly in the United States..."


The petition was submitted by William Hirzy, a chemistry researcher at the American University in Washington, D.C. Hirzy previously worked at the EPA for 27 years.

His team recently published a study entitled: "Comparison of hydrofluorosilicic acid and pharmaceutical sodium fluoride as fluoridating agents - a cost-benefit analysis", in the journal Environmental Science & Policy.

According to their estimation, switching the type of fluoride used to pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride would reduce the amount of inorganic arsenic contamination in drinking water by 99 percent!     

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