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Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical found in water, food and soil that is toxic when someone is exposed to a significant amount. It can also be found due to contamination from human activity.

Sometimes arsenic is found in low levels in food. There are limits to levels of arsenic allowed in seaweed products, seafood, rice and cereals in Australia. These foods are being constantly monitored to make sure they are safe.

The only food which has higher levels of arsenic is a type of seaweed called Hijiki. You should only eat small amounts of this food.

A small amount of arsenic is also found in chemicals used to preserve wood. These chemicals give wood a greenish colour. It is important to wash children’s hands after they play on wood treated with arsenic.

If you are concerned about your exposure to arsenic, you should consult your doctor.

Follow the links below to find trusted information about arsenic.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2021

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