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Needed Updates

Under Occurrences in Drinking water it says: "Low-level exposure to arsenic at concentrations found commonly in US drinking water compromises the initial immune response to H1N1 or swine flu infection according to NIEHS-supported scientists." I feel this needs to be clarified. The research article [76] cited used an arsenic concentration of 100 ppb. The WHO and U.S. EPA has upper limits of 10ppb allowed in drinking water. The Wikipedia article either implies the 100 ppb is commonly found in US drinking water, or it misleads people into thinking that the same concentration allowed in US drinking water was used in the study. Could someone modify the Wikipedia article to let people know that 100ppb was used in the study, or get rid of the statement about “found commonly in US drinking water.” -Jeff Chamberlain MD — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

The article discusses areas of greatest contamination. The areas mentioned are not congruent with recent studies. See USGS groundwater study:

Also, energy production boilers, particularly coal-fired sources, are major contributors of inorganic Arsenic contamination. These sources is not mentioned once in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:03, 16 December 2011 (UTC)


Article changed over to new Wikipedia:WikiProject Elements format by maveric149. Elementbox converted 13:41, 1 July 2005 by Femto (previous revision was that of 17:08, 21 June 2005). Apparently it was once used to enhance breathing and in Hungary as an agent to increase fleshiness in young adults but also apparently addictive.

Relative Danger of Arsenic in Drinking Water

There are literally thousands of research papers about arsenic toxicity, and those that address low dose chronic exposure suggest that 50 parts per billion is too much and that 10 parts per billion is prefereable to 50. That said, people need to drink water, and many people on this planet will continue to consume levels above 10 parts per billion for the foreseeable future, because improving water quality is expensive even for wealthy nations like the United States. It would be nice to lay the public policy issues out. For example, can we say that the available evidence is that reducing the arsenic from 50 ppb to 10 ppb reduces a particular cancer rate by 5 people in 10,000? And can we estimate the cost of reducing arsenic concentrations for those individuals? If we could do that, then we could make fairly direct comparisons. I believe, for example, that the health benefit return on increased mamogram screening is about one year of life for every $20,000 spent on mamograms. How does arsenic remmediation stack up in such a comparison?

I believe I have included enough real information on arsenic related cancer risks so that people can get a feeling for how the research feeds in to the process of setting safe levels.

At some point, I might include the bottom line -- which was an estimate of the increased lifetime risk of bladder cancer from drinking 10ppb As is 2 per 100,000 people. Since bladder cancer accounts for only one of several possible cancers, perhaps the cancer risk from all cancers might be 6 per 100,000 people at the 10 ppb level.

The bottom line is that a person is quite unlikely to get cancer from 10ppb As. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tombadog (talkcontribs) 17:45, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Information Sources

Some of the text in this entry was rewritten from Los Alamos National Laboratory - Arsenic. Additional text was taken directly from the Elements database 20001107 (via, Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (via and WordNet (r) 1.7 (via Data for the table was obtained from the sources listed on the main page and Wikipedia:WikiProject Elements but was reformatted and converted into SI units.


Military use not included yet - Lewisite & WW I, specifically.

The knowledge that Wisconsin inhabitants have a greater risk of catching the swine flu because 20% of their wells might have a slightly increased arsenic content just makes a whole picture now. Along with the data about ~5*10^7 poisoned in Bangladesh and a picture of acute arsenic poisoning.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Do we need a specific authority for poison wells in New Hampshire and Bangladesh? The latter is a large, well-known problem. Vicki Rosenzweig

Good question, perhaps he was the first to report it. Its been reported in the New York Times in a number of articles, the latest User:Fredbauder

There is a fairly recent book on this matter published by Macmillan Science: entitled Venomous Earth - How Arsenic Caused The World's Worst Mass Poisoning by Andrew Meharg from 2005. Bedrupsbaneman 20:07, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

I need to look some stuff up, but IIRC arsenic wasn't specifically used for the treatment of syphilis until the 20th century - mercury and its salts were the traditional treatment before then. Arsenic compunds weren't used for syphilis until Paul Ehrlich discovered Salvarsan in 1909. Malcolm Farmer

In food?

Is there any arsenic in agricultuar food? Or: does any plants contain hig doses of arsenic? Nails and hair have a lot of it. Would it also be in tobacco? coffee? tea? Cocoa? It has been used as a drug. Clearly, my question is: can you get a habit for arsenic from using natural drugs like the ones I listed? Alzehimers and high doses of coffee? The illness is commonly in Finland and Sweden where we, (I'm Swedish), drink a lot of strong coffe, can it be a connection? // Solkoll 22:31, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Probably not. This study didn't find any arsenic in coffee. Or at least they were less than 10ng/g dry coffee. Being a swede you probably shuld be more worried with your intake of heavy metals from potatoe (peel). Bedrupsbaneman 18:05, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Eating rice especially from the US could make you ingest Arsenic. See overview at news@nature or the original article in Environmental Science and Technology. Bedrupsbaneman 18:40, 17 August 2005 (UTC)


From Jack the Ripper#Suspects:

James Maybrick, (October 24, 1838–May 11, 1889), Liverpool cotton merchant. His trading activities required him to travel regularly. In 1871 he settled in Norfolk, Virginia to establish a branch office of his company. In 1874 while still there he contracted malaria. The medication provided to him contained arsenic, a substance to which he became addicted for the rest of his life.
Can you really get addicted to arsenic? What kicks do you get from it?
It is a central stimulantia, a lttle like amphetamine. The abstinence gives you a terrible headache and therefore you prefer to continue to use the drug, exactly as when you use high dozes of coffee. It also makes you completley mad and insuseceptible for other peoples feelings. // Solkoll 06:05, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)
For a discussion of the effects of arsenic consumption see The Pursuit of Oblivion, A History of Narcotics 1500-2000 by Richard Davenport-Hines. According to this source it was commonly taken as a stimulant, especially to cause penial rigidity, as well as for cosmetic results. adw (talk) 17:56, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Link suggestions

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How arsenic kills (Acute poisoning)

The idea that Arsenic kills by gastric disruption is ludicrous. I'm changing it to how arsenic kills by enzyme inhibtion, the same way every other heavy metal poisons. Arsenic is expelled from the stomach if given too much due to irritation. The body does not go into shock so much as arrest of vital systems. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

what ???

is arsonic a metal nonmetal senimental or a nobel gas????—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
Arsenic is a metalloid, so it's basically a semimetal.G.He 23:15, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

It is not clear what "Lipothiamide pyrophosphatase" is. [[::User:|]] ([[::User talk:|talk]] · [[::Special:Contributions/|contribs]]) 16:23, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

"Arsenic sensu stricto" is a mining term, but it really isn't used outside of the mining/metals industry. It certainly isn't a traditional term used in chemistry. I think that sentence should be reworded.

Combining Capacities

Does arsenic have both positive and negative charges?

Yes. Arsine, which is the arsenic analogue to ammonia tends to have a negative charge, whereas Arsenic oxide, positive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:15, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

arsenic is dangerous to the environment?

Elemental arsenic and arsenic compounds are classified as toxic and dangerous for the environment in the European Union under directive 67/548/EEC.

weird... arsenic comes from the environment, but is dangerous to it? ....i'm just saying.... --Kvuo 03:23, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Saying what? That environmental toxins are less harmful when they occur naturally? Femto 11:59, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
is arsenic a toxin? I thought it was an element. toxins are poisons created by living organisms aren't they? nevertheless... arsenic is only poisonous to living things, not to the environment as a whole.. oh and i realize it was just a quote from the EU, and i'm not suggesting any change to the article.. like I was sayin, "i'm just sayin'" --Kvuo 00:53, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
They aren't talking about arsenic that was already naturally present. Given the toxic effects of arsenic, a statement that disposing of significant quantities of arsenic into most ecosystems is likely to degrade those ecosystems really shouldn't be any surprise.
Arsenic which occurs natually often causes local toxicity as it leaches into the surrounding area. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:18, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Neutron and Proton

The image at the top right lacks the proton and neutron count, unlike the other elements. sorry, I dont know how to edit it. Joh777nny 19:23, 13 October 2006 (UTC)


What's with the large space in the middle of the article? It seems to be cause by the table at right, but I can't find any way to "Wrap text." Anyone who can fix it, please do, it's distracting to the reader. Fyrebyrd 15:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Arsenic limit test

in an arsenic limit test why are gases passed through lead acetate woll and how does hydrogen sulphide interfere with the results?(Snddempsey 12:11, 19 April 2007 (UTC))

Sword made out of arsenic?

My friend and I are having a big debate about this. Is it possible to make a sword out of arsenic, or would it be too brittle and break? - Katami 22:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Not a chance. Most metals couldn't be used for a sword, let alone metalloids. Metalic arsenic is compressible, around 5x more compressible than bronze and 7x more compressible than iron. Metalic arsenic is also weak, with a Young's modulus (stress/strain) of around 8 GPa. Compare that to bronze (120 GPa), iron (190 GPa), or steel (200 GPa). I couldn't locate any value for the shear strength, but that should be sufficient to explain why we didn't have any ancient civilizations using arsenic swords.
But a sword with Arsenic on it? That is possible, though would not poison an opponent quickly. The other reason is Arsenic was discovered in 1250 by Albertus Magnus, that was quite a while ago, but not 'Ancient'.

German nazis?

Didn't the germans use arsenic to improve skin, get more shiny nicer-looking hair and better-looking eyes during the nazi era? Did they use white arsenic.. what dosages were used, what dose is considered subtoxic? what dose is considered lethal? andbir

Arsenic Acid

I know for a fact that Phsophoric Acid is a weak acid. The only strong acids are Hydrochloric, Hydoiodic, HydroBromic, Sulfuric, Nitric, and Perchloric acid.

Plus a wealth of other acids. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:27, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


Is it just me, or does Arsenic seem to be one of the most useless elements? It just seems to be too poisonous to be of any good use whatsoever... McLoaf 16:59, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

it was used to treat syphillis at one point. Arthurian Legend 16:21, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, but is it of any good use in the present? It seems pretty much a useless metal; too toxic to be of any good use... McLoaf 19:50, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Arsenic#Applications - Might have been an idea to check the article first.. CycloneNimrod (talk) 19:16, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
To pick a nit, Arsenic is not a metal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:16, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Melting/boiling point

This article lists the melting point at a higher temperature than the boiling point. How can that be> —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:29, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

It is liquid under pressure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Anachronistic detail

In the article it says:

"The word arsenic is borrowed from the Persian word زرنيخ Zarnikh meaning "yellow orpiment". Zarnikh was borrowed by Greek as arsenikon. Arsenic has been known and used in Persia and elsewhere since ancient times."

In ancient times the Persians weren't using the perso-arabic alphabet, then why use it here? That word would have been incomprehensible to literal Persians. Arthurian Legend 16:20, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, you've got a point there... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Arsenic Life

I have heard a theory that arsenic, having the same number of valence electrons as phosphorous, may be able to play the same biological role in other life forms as phosphorous does in known life forms. Perhaps this article should contain some information on this theory? Nschoem 21:40, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


  • {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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--Stone (talk) 16:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

  • {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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  • {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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  • {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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  • {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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Cumulative Poison

Is Arsenic a cumulative poison like the heavy metals? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


Has there been any study of using an Arsenic isotope such as As-71 the way Arsenic was used to treat diseases before broad spectrum antibiotics were used? The Arsenic could be used to kill the disease, then it would break down into a different element. The only problem is how dangerous is the radiation given off by As-71? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:35, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

section: Isotopes

Could we delete it? It could be a suggestion to the terrorists how to improve a dirty bomb.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:36, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

As I wait for my eyes to unroll, I'll suggest that "terrorists" will have plenty of other ways of finding this information out.--THobern 10:09, 3 May 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by THobern (talkcontribs)


  • The Application section starts with applications which are at least historic, not the important applications which the reader will encounter today.
    • Make a historic and today application subsection.
  • It metions use as colour two times and the use as wood preservation is US centristic at best.
  • Referencing the facts is poor.

--Stone (talk) 15:05, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Toxicity - undue weight?

Seems like undue weight to have 14 references (#44 to 57) for three paragraphs' text. Rather than citing primary sources, are there any textbooks or reviews which may adequately summarize the toxicity of As? --Rifleman 82 (talk) 10:36, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

The Precaution section and the first paragraph of Toxicity are OK but the diabetis section looks as strange. --Stone (talk) 11:16, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
As a balance to the undue weight on toxicity, I've added a subsection on arsenic's role as an essential trace element. A lot of people advocate banning arsenic, for example, by making rules about maximum levels in the human environment. I thought it would be good to balance that POV with the opposing POV: that it's not bad at every level and might even be beneficial at some level (see hormesis). --Uncle Ed (talk) 19:32, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Shouldn't Arsenic be in Category:Biology and pharmacology of chemical elements ?

Shouldn't Arsenic be in Category:Biology and pharmacology of chemical elements ? Eldin raigmore (talk) 20:40, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


Arsenic was first isolated by Geber]] (721–815), an [Alchemy and chemistry in Islam|Arabian alchemist]]. name=Ansari citation|title=Electrocyclic reactions: from fundamentals to research|first1=Farzana Latif|last1=Ansari|first2=Rumana|last2=Qureshi|first3=Masood Latif|last3=Qureshi|year=1998|publisher=Wiley-VCH|isbn=3527297553|page=2} citation|title=The History of Chemistry|first=Thomas|last=Thomson|publisher=Colburn and Bentley|year=1830|pages=129–30}} George Sarton]], Introduction to the History of Science (cf.]] Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq (1997), Quotations From Famous Historians of Science Cyberistan]

As Tommy Thomson shows this is from the 14th not the 8th century.J8079s (talk) 02:09, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

error in map

In the map, Corsica is color-coded differently from the rest of France. Since production data are by country, they should be the same color. I don't know how to edit a map. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Arsenic Use in Bacteria

Arsenic use by bacteria has been placed in the introduction with no reference to what bacteria or who has published on them. Obviously, things can change quickly with an announcement by NASA today (2 Dec 2010) and their paper in Science. Regardless, citation is needed. Jeperkin (talk) 16:44, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

The Arsenic used by bacteria is not new, feeding on arsenate arsenite equilibrium is common, and what the NASA will announce is still 55 minutes to go so lets wait for what's coming up there.--Stone (talk) 18:11, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
In that regard, it would be nice to cite other sources, like It seems that at least tolerance, if not metabolization of arsenic is actually not especially hard to evolve (the two bacterial strains in question - the Italian one and the Mono Lake one - are not at all closely related); few people seem to have bothered to go looking for it.
The interesting thing about the new strain is not that it has any implications for astrobiology (arsenic is far too rare in the universe compared to phosphorus, meaning that any major locality will have abundantly more of the latter - and life depending on a limited resource is invariably outcompeted by life depending on a more abundant resource) or that it "changes our understanding of life" (if anything, the discovery that "archaebacteria" is a misnomer did that; the new strain is trivially derived from an entirely conventional halophilic bacterium).
What makes it interesting is that it proves it is possible to overcome the two major biochemical limitations of As: a) interaction with S, b) decreased stability in organic compounds compared to P. At face value, it once again proves Darwin was right. But the discovery of selenocysteine has proven long ago that usually toxic elements can be harnessed by evolution. (talk) 12:38, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps this section should be removed until there is consensus in the scientific community. Although the information was released in Science a peer reviewed scientific journal, the finding are the source of significant debate amongst microbiologists. The CBC[1] and Wired Magazine[2] have covered stories questioning the validity of the science used in the original article. University of British Columbia microbiologist Rosie Redfield was one of the first to publicly criticize the article in her blog [3] Dwayne Brown of NASA then took the time quash her remarks and those of others who question the articles validity, citing they are not using the correct venue (blogs vs. peer reviewed journals) to critique this article. This is a fast evolving topic and the guardian is keeping a minute by minute record of the events, criticisms and dismissals.[4]--Jpe77 (talk) 21:02, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

References are usually not needed in the lede/lead, as it's a summary of referenced stuff in the body. I wish that the present lede had kept my initial note that arsenic had recently been found in an UNCONFIRMED report to be present in bacterial biomolecules. But nobody liked it. So here we are, in a situation where people will keep adding it and taking it out. Incidently, this process has made a victim of a previously well-confirmed bit of knowledge that some bacteria DO USE arsenic in their respiration (just as they use sulfur and even tellurium). That needs to go back in the lead because there's no question about it. These bacteria can take a LOT of arsenic, and As is uniformly toxic only to eukaryotes. SBHarris 01:52, 11 December 2010 (UTC)


Nontoxic forms?

I'm aware that many complex organic arsenic compounds are non toxic, but I'm wondering about arsenic(0) -- pure elemental arsenic. Many heavy metals famous for their toxicity -- including plutonium, thallium, and lead -- are not toxic as metals, but only in the form of water-soluble salts; a lead bullet may be embedded in a human body for many years without causing toxicity.

I see three possibilities:

-- It is toxic as an element.
-- It is non-toxic as an element.
-- It is non-toxic as an element, but when exposed to air and/or water reacts to form toxic salts, so that it is impossible to be exposed to pure elemental arsenic.

Does anyone know? (I'm trying to cut past the use of 'arsenic' as a general term for arsenic compounds.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Melting & Boiling Point?

The melting and boiling point of Arsenic are not mentioned on the data table. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

That's because arsenic doesn't melt or boil at standard pressure (1 atm). It sublimes. That's why the data table gives a sublimation point instead of a melting or boiling point. Double sharp (talk) 09:53, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Electronic versus paper publication

Some "editor" believes that the fact that the arsenic bacteria article was never published in the print version of Science is not worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia articles. He appears unaware that this fact signifies that Science rapidly lost faith in the validity of the data. It is a significant component of an entry that an article published online has been withheld from print publication. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

I recommend you look at Talk:GFAJ-1 in the section "Electronic versus paper publication". They are more eloquent than I. CanadianLinuxUser (talk) 14:57, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Quote mine

The new section ===Arsenic as an essential trace element=== needs a major rewrite. It is simply a pile of improperly attributed quotes. The info is useful, but a rewrite is needed to comply with MOS and Wikipedia:Quotations. Vsmith (talk) 01:30, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

That section was extremely poorly attributed, and I removed it before seeing this. Anyway, it was a couple commercial and/or political activism links, a story in The Washington Times, and a paper from 1993 - no loss with any of that. I will see if I can dig up some decent sources for a new section under #Biological role over the next few days. - 2/0 (cont.) 18:55, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Pfizer suspends sale of roxarsone in June

Pfizer has voluntarily suspended the sale of 3-nitro (roxarsezone) for use in chickens and swine after study indicates that inorganic arsenic was found in the livers of study chickens and linked to the drug. The link above goes to the FDA press release on this.

I am not familiar with editing Wikipedia articles so I will leave this for someone else with more ability.

James K. (talk) 10:39, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Manufacture and Industrial Uses

Why does this element not have the method of manufacture and common uses like all the other elements do?

is there a safe way to store As? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:55, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

There is an application section. If you come from the US the use you encounter most is in wood preservation for houses and the second use is as alloy in lead bullets. --Stone (talk) 05:53, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


At WP:MED we only keep articles that are fairly related to use. For example Lead andCarbon are not part of our Wikiproject while Lead poisoning of course is. If you wish to discussion our inclusion policy please see here[1] Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 01:42, 14 June 2012 (UTC)


cut the groundwater discussion length by 30-50%.

Double the 3-5 semicond discussion. (talk) 01:46, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Indeed there's no excuse for this much biology HERE, as we can summarize and move material to subarticles arsenic contamination of groundwater, arsenic toxicity, arsenic poisoning and finally arsenic biochemistry (which probably should be renamed arsenic in biology to coincide with the "normal function" subarticles for our other elements). SBHarris 03:35, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


There are quite a few citation needed tags and at least one when tag in this article. These should ideally be dealt with before nominating the article. I suggest the nominator tries to fix these as soon as possible as it could meet the quickfail criteria in its current state. AIRcorn (talk) 12:22, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Arsenic has a protective role?? Against what??

This is stated and referenced, both here, and in the arsenic poisoning article. It's not enough. While it may be true, it's just to odd to include without a mechanism and some specifics, and also a page number from the book. Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. SBHarris 21:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Maybe this is what is being referred to: "How acute promyelocytic leukaemia revived arsenic" Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. --Smokefoot (talk) 23:27, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I doubt it. That's a treatment for the disease, a bit like chemothrapy. Nobody has claimed arsenic is a protective or preventive for it. SBHarris 23:26, 11 July 2012 (UTC)