Arsenic, in its inorganic form, is one of the most toxic elements on earth. After lead and mercury, it is listed as the third most toxic substance in the US Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. According to the WHO, arsenic contaminated drinking water, represented the second greatest threat to human health worldwide after microorganism contamination – affecting nearly 150 million people worldwide.
Long-term human exposure to inorganic arsenic, through drinking of contaminated water or eating of food prepared or irrigated with arsenic-rich water, can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning (arsenicosis), and adverse health effects such as skin lesions, skin cancer, developmental irregularities, neurotoxicity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Inorganic arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, India, Mexico, and the United States of America (Source: WHO). Most of the Arsenic pollution is naturally occurring via erosion and oxidation processes of arsenic bearing minerals. To a lesser extent, Arsenic contamination occurs through mining activity and the production of textiles, paper, metal adhesives, wood preservatives and ammunition , pesticides, pharmaceuticals and optics.
Arsenic in Drinking Water
Arsenate contamination in drinking water is a global issue:
- US: The EPA estimates that 13 million Americans are exposed to arsenic in drinking water at a concentration greater than or equal to 10 μg/L due to geogenic contamination in the Madison and Missouri Rivers in Montana and Wyoming.
- Canada: Contaminated sites are found in Moira Lake, Ontario and southern coast of British Columbia.
- Bangladesh / India: 20- 45 million people are at risk of being exposed to arsenic concentrations greater than the WHO guideline value of 10 μg/L.
- Vietnam / Cambodia: Approximately 10 – 15 million people in Vietnam and Cambodia suffer from arsenic contamination, due to the presence of arsenic-rich soils in contact with the groundwater.
- Chile: Approximately 1.8 million people, representing about 12% of the total population, live in arsenic-contaminated areas in the north of the country.
ToxSorb for Drinking Water (Low Concentrations)
There are many technologies on the market capable of removing Arsenic from drinking water, but few can match the efficiency of ToxSorb’s MAC.The secret lies in the selectivity or our media, which enables our systems to remove arsenic to non-detect levels in the presence of known ionic competition. We combine this benefit with a unique regenerative process, allowing us to reuse the brine over and over again, while maintaining a balance of salinity. These advantages make ToxSorb’s MAC media, the ideal technology choice for drinking water operators looking to increased treatment efficiency and reduce cost.
ToxSorb’s media is NSF approved for drinking water (NSF Std 61).
ToxSorb for Industrial Wastewater (High Concentrations)
Today, there are few technologies available in the market capable of removing Arsenic at high concentrations typically found in mining and other heavy industries (+10ppm), due to serious technical and economic challenges involved in treatment. ToxSorb’s latest technological development overcomes these obstacles and represents a significant breakthrough in wastewater treatment.
ToxSorb has produced a new media, capable of removing high concentrations of arsenic with great efficiency, from 100ppm to >1ppm. This platform excels in high saline environments often present in the mining industry, and shows no degradation of performance as the concentration of arsenic rises. This media has been tested in the field and is currently ongoing a large-scale pilot on an old gold mining site in France, to prove feasibility. ToxSorb expects this technology to be commercially available by 2014.