Arsenic is a metalloid i.e, considered as human carcinogen. Millions of individuals worldwide are chronically exposed through drinking water, with consequences ranging from acute toxicities to development of malignancies, such as skin and lung cancer. Long term ingestion of inorganic arsenic has been associated with several human diseases. There are various sources of ingested arsenic, such as food (mainly in fish and seafood, algae, and cereals), air (coal-fired power generation and smelting), and water. Of the various sources of arsenic in the environment, long-term exposure of arsenic in drinking water likely poses the greatest threat to human health. Arsenic is classified as a class I human carcinogen by the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC), many existing evidences prove arsenic as carcinogenic agent to humans. Skin and several types of internal cancers, including bladder, kidney, liver, prostate, and lung are associated with arsenic ingestion. Skin cancer is the most common form of neoplasm associated with arsenic ingestion, while lung cancer corresponds to the most deadly. Interestingly, arsenic (specifically arsenic trioxide or As2O3) is used as a chemotherapeutic agent for several types of cancer, with some studies showing high percentage of response in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL)
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Last date updated on June, 2014