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A new study underlines the risk of using water contaminated with arsenic to cook rice, a staple food serving more than half the world’s population.

About Arsenic

  • It is a naturally occurring, semimetallic element widely distributed in the Earth’s crust.
  • It is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land.
  • It is a chemical element in the nitrogen group (Group 15 of the periodic table), existing in both gray and yellow crystalline forms.
  • It is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
  • People are exposed to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic through drinking contaminated water, using contaminated water in food preparation and irrigation of food crops, industrial processes, eating contaminated food and smoking tobacco.
  • Health Impacts: Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic, mainly through drinking-water and food, can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. Skin lesions and skin cancer are the most characteristic effects.
  • In India, the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Chhattisgarh are reported to be most affected by arsenic contamination of groundwater above the permissible level.

Q1) What is the periodic table?

It is a tabular array of the chemical elements organized by atomic number, from the element with the lowest atomic number, hydrogen, to the element with the highest atomic number, oganesson. 

Source: Unhealthy levels of arsenic in water could exacerbate health concerns when used to boil rice