Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical found in air, water, food and soil. It can also be found due to contamination from human activity. Arsenic can be found in either organic or inorganic forms.
Inorganic arsenic is sometimes found in low levels in food. There are limits to levels of arsenic allowed in seaweed products, seafood including fish and some types of shellfish (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), rice and cereals. Inorganic arsenic is also used for industrial purposes such as preserving wood.
Organic arsenic compounds are used as pesticides, primarily on cotton plants.
If you are concerned about your exposure to arsenic, you should consult your doctor.
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Last reviewed: July 2016