Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

DE L'ARSENIC DANS NOS ASSIETTES

Les autorités sanitaires danoises recommandant de limiter chez les enfants la consommation de produits à base de riz à cause des trop grandes quantités d'arsenic qu'ils contiennent parfois.Riz, eau du robinet, aliments... L'arsenic est en fait assez fréquent dans notre alimentation et pas sans danger. Décryptage.
Par Paule Neyrat, Diététicien
$$L'arsenic, c'est quoi ?$$

Un oligo-élément indispensable à notre organisme qui joue un rôle dans un grand nombre des réactions chimiques qui s'y déroulent, notamment dans nos os et nos dents. Nos besoins sont infimes : ils se situent entre 10 et 20 microgrammes par jour. Ils sont donc largement couverts par l'alimentation car l'arsenic y est très présent. Le mot arsenic vient du grec arsenikon, terme qui signifie "qui dompte le mâle" ! Il lui a été attribué à cause de sa grande toxicité : elle en a fait un célèbre poison, très employé car il est sans goût ni odeur. La dose mortelle se situe entre 70 et 180 milligrammes.

Mortel à grosses doses, l'arsenic est aussi cancérigène à petites doses répétées
Mais à très petites doses, répétées, fréquentes, l'arsenic est cancérigène (il est ainsi classé depuis 1980), et lié aux cancers de la peau, de la vessie et des poumons. Il existe sous deux formes chimiques un peu différentes : l'arsenic organique et l'acide inorganique. C'est ce dernier qui est le plus toxique.

Où se trouve l'arsenic ?

Un peu partout car les gisements de ce métal, combiné avec d'autres minerais, sont nombreux dans la croûte terrestre, et les volcans en rejettent des milliers de tonnes. Depuis les temps les plus reculés, l'arsenic a été utilisé pour toutes sortes d'activités humaines allant de la métallurgie aux pigments pour la peinture, en passant par le traitement du bois et des cuirs, le blanchiment de certains matériaux, le durcissement des cartouches et autres munitions, etc.

Présent dans les pesticides de certains pays
Il a aussi été - et il l'est encore dans certains pays - très employé comme pesticide, fongicide et insecticide (il y en a dans ceux que l'on emploie contre les fourmis). Il y en a également dans le tabac.

Non biodégradable, l'arsenic pollue à vie
L'arsenic ne disparaît pas, il n'est pas biodégradable. Il a donc rejoint et continue de rejoindre, partout, les sols et les eaux. C'est pourquoi il y a de l'arsenic dans un grand nombre de végétaux car ils poussent dans le sol et sont nourris d'eau. Mais aussi dans les poissons et les coquillages puisqu'ils vivent dans l'eau. Et également dans l'eau que nous buvons

English translation by community member LightMyWay

Arsenic in our Dishes

Danish health authorities recommend limiting children’s consumption of rice-based products because of the overly large quantities of arsenic they sometimes contain. Rice, tap water, food supplements…Arsenic is actually found rather frequently in our food, and not without danger. Report by Paule Neyrat, Dietician.

*What is Arsenic?*
A trace element critical to our existence, which plays a part in a large number of chemical reactions, especially in our bones and teeth. Our requirements are minuscule: between 10 and 20 micrograms a day. They are therefore largely satisfied by food, in which arsenic is very present. The word “arsenic” comes from the Greek “arsenikon,” which means “tames the male”! The word was attributed to it because of its toxicity: it makes a famous poison which has been commonly used because it is tasteless and odorless. The fatal dosage is between 70 and 180 mg.

*While fatal in large doses, arsenic is also carcinogenic in repeated small doses*
At very small, repetitive and frequent doses, arsenic is carcinogenic (it’s been classified as such since 1980), and linked to cancers of the skin, bladder and lungs. There are two slightly different chemical forms of it: organic arsenic and inorganic acid. The latter is more toxic.

*Where is Arsenic Found?*
A little bit everywhere, because deposits of this metal, combined with other minerals, are common in the earth’s crust, and volcanoes spew thousands of tons of it. For eons, arsenic has been used in all kinds of human activity, from metalworking to paint pigments, from treating wood and leather and whitewashing certain materials to hardening cartridges and other ammunition, etc.

*Present in certain countries’ pesticides*
It also used to be very commonly used—and still is, in some countries—as a pesticide, fungicide and insecticide (it can be found in those used against ants). There is also some in tobacco.

*Non-Biodegradable Arsenic Pollutes Life*
Arsenic doesn’t disappear; it is non-biodegradable. Therefore it always gets back into the soil and water. That’s why there is arsenic in a lot of vegetation, because plants grow in the soil and need water. But it is also in fish and shellfish because they live in water. It’s also in the water we drink.

Comments

LightMyWay's picture

Merci

Chère Bénédicte Bulangalire,

Je vous remercie d’avoir partagé cet article concernant l’arsenic dans nos aliments et dans l’eau. Je n’étais pas consciente, moi, du fait qu’il existe partout, ni à quelles quantités minuscules il devient mortel. Mais je pose donc la question : qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire pour se protéger contre l’arsenic, et surtout pour protéger nos enfants ?

Merci encore et à bientôt,
LightMyWay
(Lydia)

Danish health authorities recommend limiting children’s consumption of rice-based products because of the overly large quantities of arsenic they sometimes contain. Rice, tap water, food supplements…Arsenic is actually found rather frequently in our food, and not without danger. Report by Paule Neyrat, Dietician.

*What is Arsenic?*
A trace element critical to our existence, which plays a part in a large number of chemical reactions, especially in our bones and teeth. Our requirements are minuscule: between 10 and 20 micrograms a day. They are therefore largely satisfied by food, in which arsenic is very present. The word “arsenic” comes from the Greek “arsenikon,” which means “tames the male”! The word was attributed to it because of its toxicity: it makes a famous poison which has been commonly used because it is tasteless and odorless. The fatal dosage is between 70 and 180 mg.

*While fatal in large doses, arsenic is also carcinogenic in repeated small doses*
At very small, repetitive and frequent doses, arsenic is carcinogenic (it’s been classified as such since 1980), and linked to cancers of the skin, bladder and lungs. There are two slightly different chemical forms of it: organic arsenic and inorganic acid. The latter is more toxic.

*Where is Arsenic Found?*
A little bit everywhere, because deposits of this metal, combined with other minerals, are common in the earth’s crust, and volcanoes spew thousands of tons of it. For eons, arsenic has been used in all kinds of human activity, from metalworking to paint pigments, from treating wood and leather and whitewashing certain materials to hardening cartridges and other ammunition, etc.

*Present in certain countries’ pesticides*
It also used to be very commonly used—and still is, in some countries—as a pesticide, fungicide and insecticide (it can be found in those used against ants). There is also some in tobacco.

*Non-Biodegradable Arsenic Pollutes Life*
Arsenic doesn’t disappear; it is non-biodegradable. Therefore it always gets back into the soil and water. That’s why there is arsenic in a lot of vegetation, because plants grow in the soil and need water. But it is also in fish and shellfish because they live in water. It’s also in the water we drink.

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: In the Name of Honor

PAKISTAN: In the Name of Honor

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

World Pulse Launches our Inaugural Community Advisory Board!

World Pulse Launches our Inaugural Community Advisory Board!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative