Waugh, John L. T. Department of Chemistry, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Last reviewed:August 2018
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A chemical element, As, atomic number 33, and atomic weight 74.922. Arsenic is one of the 22 known elements composed of only one stable nuclide. There are 17 other radioactive arsenic nuclides known. Arsenic is found widely distributed in nature (approximately 5 × 10−4 of the Earth's crust) and is often found in groundwater. Arsenic and its compounds are highly toxic. Exposure to airborne arsenic above 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air is considered likely to cause death. In the United States, the maximum permitted level of arsenic in drinking water is micrograms per liter. Long-term low-level arsenic exposure can cause cancer, skin lesions, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. See also: Medical geology; Nuclide; Toxicology
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