Toxin Profiles

Substance Name

Arsenic
Identification Number: CASRN | 7440-38-2

  Nastiness Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Endocrine Disrupter

    Interferes with your hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers that can bind to DNA. You don't want to mess with them.

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.

    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Serious Acute Effects

    This is a serious nasty substance. Effects are Acute (seen immediately). Substances in this category may be FATAL or acutely toxic if inhaled, skin contact or swallowed. See further details.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Toxic to Wildlife

    May kill plants, fish, birds or other animals and insects or may be very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. This then effects delicate environmental ecology and food supply in ways we don't fully understand yet.


  • CATEGORIES: Pit Chemicals | Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Cigarette Toxin | Pesticide | Household Toxin | Pollutant | Airborne Pollutant | Food Toxin | Natural Toxin | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Inorganic Compounds | Homogeneous Metal Compounds | Homogeneous Metalloid Compounds | | Homogeneous Metalloid Compounds
  • SYNONYMS: Arsenic ion | Arsenic(3+) | Arsenic(3+) ion | Arsenic(III) | Arsenic(III) cation | As | As(3+) | As3+
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Unknown | Arsenic(As) is a ubiquitous metalloid found in several forms in food and the environment, such as the soil, air and water. Physiologically, it exists as an ion in the body. The predominant form is inorganic arsenic in drinking water, which is both highly toxic and carcinogenic and rapidly bioavailable. Arsenic is currently one of the most important environmental global contaminants and toxicants, particularly in the developing countries. For decades, very large populations have been and are currently still exposed to inorganic Arsenic through geogenically contaminated drinking water. An increased incidence of disease mediated by this toxicant is the consequence of long-term exposure. In human's chronic ingestion of inorganic arsenic (> 500 mg/L As) has been associated with cardiovascular, nervous, hepatic and renal diseases and diabetes mellitus as well as cancer of the skin, bladder, lung, liver and prostate. Contrary to the earlier view that methylated compounds are innocuous, the methylated metabolites are now recognized to be both toxic and carcinogenic, possibly due to genotoxicity, inhibition of antioxidative enzyme functions, or other mechanisms. Arsenic inhibits indirectly sulfhydryl containing enzymes and interferes with cellular metabolism. Effects involve such phenomena as cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and inhibition of enzymes with antioxidant function. These are all related to nutritional factors directly or indirectly. Nutritional studies both in experimental and epidemiological studies provide convincing evidence that nutritional intervention, including chemoprevention, offers a pragmatic approach to mitigate the health effects of arsenic exposure, particularly cancer, in the relatively resource-poor developing countries. Nutritional intervention, especially with micronutrients, many of which are antioxidants and share the same pathway with Arsenic , appears a host defence against the health effects of arsenic contamination in developing countries and should be embraced as it is pragmatic and inexpensive. (A7664, A7665).
  • COMMENTS: From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia: Toxic if inhaled. Toxic if swallowed. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects | Environmental Hazard Acutely Toxic | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: As
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | NTP | EPA_IRIS | TEDX | EPA in USA | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 21/04/2015

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Exposure to lower levels of arsenic can cause nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels, and a sensation of “pins and needles” in hands and feet. Breathing high levels of inorganic arsenic can give you a sore throat or irritated lungs. Arsenic also affects the brain, causing neurological disturbances such as headaches, confusion, and drowsiness. (A1)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Arsenic poisoning can lead to death from multi-system organ failure, probably from necrotic cell death, not apoptosis. Arsenic is also a known carcinogen, especially in skin, liver, bladder and lung cancers. (T1, L20) Arsenic poisoning is has also been associated with heart disease, (hypertension related cardiovascular), stroke (cerebrovascular diseases), chronic lower respiratory diseases and diabetes. Chronic exposure to arsenic can lead to a vitamin A deficiency which is related to heart disease and night blindness. | Arsenic is absorbed mainly by inhalation or ingestion, as to a lesser extent, dermal exposure. It is then distributed throughout the body, where it is reduced into arsenite if necessary, then methylated into monomethylarsenic (MMA) and dimethylarsenic acid (DMA) by arsenite methyltransferase. Arsenic and its metabolites are primarily excreted in the urine. Arsenic is known to induce the metal-binding protein metallothionein, which decreases the toxic effects of arsenic and other metals by binding them and making them biologically inactive, as well as acting as an antioxidant. (L20)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Arsenic and its metabolites disrupt ATP production through several mechanisms. At the level of the citric acid cycle, arsenic inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase and by competing with phosphate it uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, thus inhibiting energy-linked reduction of NAD+, mitochondrial respiration, and ATP synthesis. Hydrogen peroxide production is also increased, which might form reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. Arsenic's carcinogenicity is influenced by the arsenical binding of tubulin, which results in aneuploidy, polyploidy and mitotic arrests. The binding of other arsenic protein targets may also cause altered DNA repair enzyme activity, altered DNA methylation patterns and cell proliferation. (T1, A17) | Arsenic disrupts ATP production through several mechanisms. At the level of the citric acid cycle, arsenic inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase and by competing with phosphate it uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, thus inhibiting energy-linked reduction of NAD+, mitochondrial respiration, and ATP synthesis. Hydrogen peroxide production is also increased, which might form reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. (T1)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Arsenic is used in pesticides, wood preservatives, paints/pigments, and various metal alloys (electronics). Small amounts of arensic can be found in contaminated air, water, and some meat products, especially seafood. (L2)

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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