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Arsenic Menu

Hazard Recognition

Arsenic exposure in the workplace occurs through inhalation, ingestion, dermal or eye contact. Chronic exposure to arsenic leads to to distinct skin diseases, such as arsenical keratinosis, which is characterized by excessive formation of scaly skin on the palms and soles; darkened patches of skin; wart formation; skin lesions; acne; and increased risk of skin cancers. Chronic arsenic poisoning can also cause sudden constriction in arteries or veins, reducing blood flow; decreased nerve function; lung, liver, kidney and bladder, and other cancers. Acute exposures can cause lung distress and death. The following references provide information about the hazards and health effects associated with arsenic.

  • Arsenic, (inorganic compounds, as AS). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (May 1994). Provides an Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs) document that includes acute toxicity data for arsenic.
  • TOXNET for Arsenic Compounds. The National Library of Medicine (NLM). This record contains general information for arsenic ions (+3 and +5) and inorganic and organic arsenic compounds, including statements in the literature referenced to arsenic compounds and arsenic salts.
  • Report on Carcinogens (RoC). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Toxicology Program (NTP). Identifies and discusses agents, substances, mixtures, or exposure circumstances that may pose a health hazard due to their carcinogenicity. The listing of substances in the RoC only indicates a potential hazard and does not establish the exposure conditions that would pose cancer risks to individuals.
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks for Humans. World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (August 2007). Provides exposure risks, exposure limits, and health effects for arsenic.
  • ToxFAQs™ for Arsenic. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (August 2007). Answers the most frequently asked health questions about arsenic.
  • Arsenic, inorganic (CASRN 7440-38-2). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Discusses the health effects of arsenic, inorganic.
  • Arsenic Compounds. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards: Arsenic. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Summarizes essential health and safety information on arsenic for use at the "shop floor" level by workers and employers in a variety of workplaces.
Related Literature
  • Hertz-Picciotto I, Arrighi HM, Hu SW. "Does arsenic exposure increase the risk for circulatory disease?" American Journal of Epidemiology 2000 Aug 1;152(3):290-3.
  • Jensen GE, Hansen ML. "Occupational arsenic exposure and glycosylated haemoglobin." Analyst 1998 Jan;123(1):77-80.
  • Arrighi HM, Hertz-Picciotto I. "Controlling the healthy worker survivor effect, an example of arsenic exposure and respiratory cancer." Occupational Environmental Medicine 1996 July;53(7):455-62.
  • Tollestrup K, Daling JR, Allard J. "Mortality in a cohort of orchard workers exposed to lead arsenate pesticide spray." Archives of Environmental Health 1995 May-Jun;50(3):221-9.
  • Nriagu J. Arsenic in the Environment. Hoboken(NJ): John Wiley and Sons, Ltd; 1994. Provides a two part set of a comprehensive review of arsenic, including health impacts, sources, and analytical methods.
  • Hertz-Picciotto I, et al. "Synergism between occupational arsenic exposure and smoking in the induction of lung cancer." Epidemiology 1992 Jan;3(1):23-31.
  • Jaerup L, Pershagen G. "Arsenic exposure, smoking, and lung cancer in smelter workers; a case-control study." American Journal of Epidemiology 1991 Sep 15;1346:545-51.
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