Arsenic In Well Water: What To Do Besides Filtration To Undo Poison?

Massive native arsenic with quartz and calcite...
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The Kennebec Journal is running a series on well water contamination with arsenic in Maine.  Evidently a third of wells in Maine near Augusta contain arsenic at elevated doses.

So is that arsenic bad for you?  The SPARK study examines the link between high arsenic levels in the wells and, basically, brain damage in children sufficient to lower the child’s IQ.  It feels a bit like using Maine families as guinea pigs.  Shouldn’t the arsenic have been just taken out immediately?  Do we really need more confirmation of the bad effects of arsenic?

Families are asked to get their water tested and then install expensive filtration systems.  Otherwise, the idea is to monitor the fact that damage has been done.  Researchers will get to figure out how much IQ is lost and what sorts of cancer develop here in central Maine.

Rather than simply allow this to continue, I have another idea.  Blood samples of currently affected Mainers could be taken as a baseline, then we could try a different experiment:  how to get rid of any negative effects.

In Bangladesh, our “sister” site, people have no options but to continue to drink arsenic laced water.  And in that population conventional arsenic treatment is not financially possible.  But they are being given treatment, unlike central Mainers.  The effects are normalization of their liver enzymes and alleviation of their symptoms.

The treatment involves using arsenicum album 30c, a dilute homeopathic that costs almost nothing to create.

The short-term effects were verifiable using conventional lab values.  (Abstract below)  In long-term follow-up patients showed little toxicity and continued improvements in symptoms.  (abstract below).

The only downside to helping Mainers reverse the toxicity is that the SPARK study will not be able to accurately predict the effects of long-term poisoning.  But I always think we should put patient health before research.  I don’t like central Mainers getting less treatment than people in Bangladesh.

Sci Total Environ. 2007 Oct 1;384(1-3):141-50. Epub  2007 Jul 12.

Homeopathic remedy for arsenic toxicity?: Evidence-based findings from a randomized placebo-controlled double blind human trial.


Boiron Lab, 20 rue de la Libèration, Sainte-Foy-Lés-Lyon, France.


Millions of people are at risk of groundwater arsenic contamination, but supply of arsenic-free drinking water is grossly inadequate. The present study was intended to examine if a potentized homeopathic remedy reportedly showing ameliorating potentials in people inhabiting high-risk arsenic-contaminated areas but drinking arsenic-free water, can also ameliorate arsenic toxicity in subjects living in high-risk arsenic-contaminated areas, and drinking arsenic-contaminated water. This pilot study was conducted on 20 males and 19 females of village Dasdiya (arsenic contaminated) who initially agreed to act as volunteers; but as many as 14, mostly placebo-fed subjects, later dropped out. 18 volunteers, 14 males and 4 females, from a distant village, Padumbasan (arsenic-free), served as negative controls. In a double blind placebo-controlled study, a potentized remedy of homeopathic Arsenicum Album-30 and its placebo (Succussed Alcohol-30) were given randomly to volunteers. Arsenic contents in urine and blood and several widely accepted toxicity biomarkers and pathological parameters in blood were analyzed before and after 2 months of administration of either verum or placebo. Elevated levels of ESR, creatinine and eosinophils and increased activities of AST, ALT, LPO and GGT were recorded in arsenic exposed subjects. Decreased levels of hemoglobin, PCV, neutrophil percentages, and GSH content and low G-6-PD activity were also observed in the arsenic exposed people. The administration of “verum” appeared to make positive modulations of these parameters, suggestive of its ameliorative potentials. Most of the subjects reported better appetite and improvement in general health, thereby indicating possibility of its use in remote arsenic-contaminated areas as an interim health support measure to a large population at risk.

PMID: 17628642
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print]

A Follow-up Study on the Efficacy of the Homeopathic Remedy Arsenicum Album in Volunteers Living in High Risk Arsenic Contaminated Areas.


Cytogenetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, Kalyani 741235, India., Present addresses: Susanta Roy-Karmakar, Jhargram Raj Government College, Jhargram, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India. Surjyo Jyoti Biswas, Midnapore College, Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India.


In continuation of our short-term pilot studies reported earlier, results on certain toxicity biomarkers in volunteers who continued to take the potentized Arsenicum Album 200C till 2 years are presented. Out of some 130 ‘verum’-fed volunteers of pilot study, 96 continued to take the remedy till 6 months, 65 till 1 year and 15 among them continued till 2 years. They provided samples of their urine and blood at 6 months, 1 year and finally at 2 years. None out of 17 who received ‘placebo’ turned up for providing blood or urine at these longer intervals. Standard methodologies were used for determination of arsenic content in blood and urine, and for measurement of toxicity biomarkers like acid and alkaline phosphatases, alanine and aspartate amino transferases, lipid peroxidation and reduced glutathione and anti-nuclear antibody titers. Most of the volunteers reported status quo maintained after the improvement they achieved within the first 3 months of homeopathic treatment, in respect of their general health and spirit, and appetite and sleep. A few with skin symptoms and burning sensation, however, improved further. This was supported by the data of toxicity biomarkers, levels of all of which remained fairly within normal range. Therefore, administration of Arsenicum Album 200C considerably ameliorates symptoms of arsenic toxicity on a long-term basis, and can be recommended for interim use, particularly in high risk remote villages lacking modern medical and arsenic free drinking water facilities. Similar studies by others are encouraged.

PMID: 19703926




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