Arsenic in water

Arsenic contamination

Arsenic is ubiquitous in the environment. It naturally occurs in the earth’s crust and is present in rock, soil, water and the atmosphere. Arsenic contaminates our drinking water, washing water  and food cultivation.


It is the major source of groundwater contamination; other sources include mining, fracking, seepage from leaky landfill,  poorly managed sewage and unlawful industrial discharges. 70% of the world production of arsenic is in timber treatment, 22% in agricultural chemicals and the remainder in glass and pharmaceutical production. According to Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, arsenic is no longer used in pesticides or veterinary drugs and there is no current use of arsenic in food crops or animal production in Australia or New Zealand.

High levels or arsenic naturally occur in hijiki seaweed so be mindful of the amount you consume. High levels can also be found in rice. Low levels of arsenic are found in coffee and tea, so again be watchful as although the levels are low, they will add to your body’s toxic load of chemicals. Fish and shellfish have low levels and meat, dairy and cereals also contain arsenic.

How arsenic affects our health

70% of the world production of arsenic is in timber treatment, 22% in agricultural chemicals and the remainder in glass and pharmaceutical production.

Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water is causally related to increased risks of skin, lung, bladder and kidney cancer. Long-term inhalation exposure is associated with lung cancer. There is also evidence that hypertension, cardiovascular disease, neurological effects and endocrine disruption are a result of arsenic exposure.

What we can do to reduce the toxic load of arsenic

Purify our drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis water purifying system.

Check your source of rice. – Buy Australian, Thai, Egyptian and Chinese rice. Avoid rice form Nth India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and America. Buy organic rice milk when possible.

Testing for Arsenic

Hair analysis will show the amount of arsenic excreted over a period of 3-6 months. Blood tests will show acute exposure and urine samples show what the body is storing. (The kidneys are the primary organs of arsenic elimination)

Chelation therapy can help to rid the body of heavy metals, including arsenic. Zinc, magnesium, selenium, onions and garlic, methionine and glutathione  help to bind arsenic. Iodine levels are depleted in the presence of stored arsenic. Talk to your health practitioner for further information.

Glutathione is the master detoxifier in the body. Bone broths provide the building blocks for glutathione production. Make broth with organic (if possible) cartilage-rich bones from beef, chicken or fish.  Sally Fallon Morell has recently published her latest book called Nourishing Broth, a practical and informative guide to making life-giving broth. Preparation time numbers 5-10 minutes. Cooking time  will depend on the chosen bones, from 6-72 hours!! I make a broth every week, either drinking a daily cup or using it as a substitute for water when cooking grains. Have fun experimenting and enjoy the benefits.




Liz Wakefield

Liz Wakefield

Liz has been a health practitioner for over 25 years. Having experienced post-natal depression after the birth of her first child and breastfeeding two children for a total of five-and-a-half years, she feels confident in her ability to educate and support young families to feel positive in their capacity to nurture their infants and provide a healthy and balanced environment in which they all can thrive.

Liz offers workshops that provide a fun, caring and reassuring space to explore wholefood cooking, practise infant massage (to improve sleep patterns and digestive issues) and learn about household toxins and how to reduce our toxic load.

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