Arsenic Contaminants In Drinking Water

Arsenic in drinking water - removing contaminants

Arsenic is an odorless and tasteless water contaminant that gets into our drinking water supplies either from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices. In order to protect public health the EPA regulates arsenic in drinking water in the United States. And so, in line with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has determined the maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG) for arsenic as zero while the maximum contaminant level (MCL) is 0.010 milligrams per Liter (mg/L) or 10 parts per billion (ppb). While the MCLG is not enforceable the MCL is however enforceable.

The Health Effects of Arsenic

When Arsenic is in water, it may not have any smell or taste but it can be deadly.  While short term exposure can lead to skin damage or stomach problems long term exposure have been known to result in different types of cancer like liver, prostate, and bladder cancer.

How Does Arsenic Get Into Your Drinking Water?

Arsenic often gets into drinking water through natural deposits, farm run-off or industrial waste. This is why the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) requires certain factories, which manufacture, process, or use significant amounts of toxic chemicals, to report annually on their releases of these chemicals.

It is worth emphasizing that arsenic in water is not easily seen and it has no taste. In order to know the arsenic levels of your tap water, it is important that it is tested. Public water suppliers  required by the EPA to test for and treat water that is over the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10ppb (10 parts per billion). Where there is a rise above the MCL, they are expected to notify you within 30 days while steps are being taken to remedy the situation. Also additional actions, such as providing alternative drinking water, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health.

For private wells, these are not regulated by governments but owners are encouraged to  test at least annually for the presence of arsenic.

Water Filtration Solutions for Arsenic

Toxic arsenic levels in drinking water can be effectively reduced to below 0.010 mg/L or 10 ppb by the following ways: adsorption media, coagulation/filtration, oxidation/filtration,  ion exchange, activated carbon, distillation, and point-of-use or point-of-entry water treatment systems using activated alumina or reverse osmosis.

Arsenic water filtration through activated carbon water filters is known to reduce the level of arsenic in drinking water from 40-70%. ion exchange can reduce it by 90-100%. Reverse Osmosis has a 90% removal rate, and Water Distillation will remove 98% of arsenic from water.

Here are a Few Water Filtration Systems for Arsenic Compared


Royal Berkey with 2 Black Filters and 2 PF-2 Fluoride Filters
The benefit of this bundle is that the PF2 filters are 50% off of MSRP. PF2 filters out Fluoride, Arsenic V and pre-oxidized Arsenic III, as well as other residual heavy metal ions. You simply screw the PF-2 Fluoride filter into the Black Berkey filters.$313.50

Big Blue Whole House Activated Alumina Water Filter - Removes Fluoride, Arsenic, Sediment, Chlorine, & Chloramines
Activated alumina filter removes fluoride and arsenic to provide safer water in your whole home. Radial flow carbon removes chlorine, chloramines, odors, and chemicals with minimal pressure loss. Sediment filter filters out particulates, sand, and sediment down to 1 micron.$429.49

Whole House AdEdge AD33 Arsenic Removal Water Filter System
Whole house 12" x 52" VORTECH tank with 2 cu. ft. AdEdge AD33 Arsenic removal resin. Will treat flow rates up to 6 GPM and removes up to 99% of both As+3 and As+5. Media lasts 2-3 years and no arsenic is released during backwash and spent media is non-hazardous.$2,313.49

Aquacera- 2pk- 9" Ceracarb Ceramic Filter for Gravity Use
Our CeraCarb elements remove >99.999% of pathogenic bacteria and cysts. Filtering capacity of 1350 gallons or 1 year. Has a 0.7 absolute micron rating. Increased reduction of in-organics like chloramines, arsenic, nitrate and VOC's. Keeps all the essential minerals in the water that are healthy and make the water taste good.$64.00

Click here for more home water filters for removing arsenic from your drinking water.

For Further Reading

  1. Berkey Water Filter Reviews
  2. Whirlpool Whole House Water Filter Reviews
  3. Kitchenaid Refrigerator Water Filter
  4. Whole House Water Filter Reviews and Recommendations
  5. The Dangers of Mercury in Your Drinking Water!