Why An Arsenic Test May Be Needed

An arsenic testing laboratory provides an essential and useful service. However, when you say the word arsenic to most people they think of a poison murder mystery. While detecting criminal offenses is one use of an arsenic test there are other more common reasons to have one as well.  The purpose of an arsenic testing laboratory is unknown to most people but there is more to what an arsenic test is, and what it is used for, the most people know. What follows is a brief overview of the process and the reasons one would make use of an arsenic testing laboratory.

The Process

Arsenic is measured in the body by taking a sample of either a person’s hair or nails. For hair it will have to be washed beforehand and a patient should inform the tester if their hair is chemically treated or dyed. The hair itself will total roughly one grams worth and be collected from various points on the scalp. Nails, much like hair, also must be washed beforehand. For a mail sample these must be fresh and cut from either the fingers or the toes. Because arsenic is a material that leaves traces in the body no further testing is required to detect its presence. After review (which can vary depending on age, gender, and overall health) the next step in the process can be taken depending on results and medical consultation. This can involve medicines or any required treatments.

Why Use An Arsenic Testing Laboratory

While testing for criminal arsenic poisoning is still a reason to have testing done there are other reasons that may require testing. In some work environments there is a risk of exposure to arsenic compounds. Because of this semi regular testing may be required for persons who work in these industries. Common industries where arsenic exposure is greater is in the smelting of naturally occurring minerals such as zinc. However, it is worth noting that arsenic use is less common in the west and has been mostly phased out

However, when working in Asia chances of exposure are higher as it is still in more common use in some fields..

The most common way people are exposed to arsenic are not criminal nor may they be profession related. The most common way people are exposed is through contaminated drinking water. Groundwater in general can have high concentrations of arsenic occurring naturally. This naturally occurring arsenic concentration is reported to have caused over 137 million poisoning cases in over 70 countries as per a 2007 report from the Royal Geographic Society Arsenic Conference. Another possible area of exposure is due to food. Arsenic can poison soil and by this also contaminate any foods grown in that soil. Rice in particular more readily absorbs arsenic from polluted soil than other foods.

Summation

An arsenic testing laboratory provides testing which can prove useful in the detection of naturally occurring environmental hazards, contaminated food, professional exposure, and in rare cases criminal intent.

 

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