Pursuant to Proposition 65, arsenic was listed as a human carcinogen on February 27, 1987. Inorganic arsenic is: (1) acutely toxic when introduced into the human body (2) proven to cause cancer (3) known to cause and contribute to a host of reproductive harms and debilitating illnesses, and (4) when consumed over time, increases the likelihood of early death.
The World Health Organization classifies inorganic arsenic as a "major public health concern" (2010). Ingestion of arsenic can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, disturbances of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, and eventual death. Chronic arsenic toxicity results in multi-system disease and has been linked to a variety of dermal symptoms, peripheral neuropathy, encephalopathy, bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, portal hypertension, peripheral vascular disease/"black foot disease, atherosclerosis, various cancers, obesity, and diabetes mellitus.
Consumption is one of the most common forms of exposure to arsenic. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, 2007), food is generally the main source of arsenic exposure. In addition, arsenic is sometimes used in herbicides and animal feed (ATSDR, 2007). Arsenic has long been a human poison and even low-level exposure can cause easier bruising, tiredness, and faster heartbeat. ATSDR (2017) states: “the single-most characteristic effect of long-term oral exposure to inorganic arsenic is a pattern of skin changes.” Monitoring skin changes is an important factor in early identification of cancer.