It is well established that high levels of arsenic in drinking water can lead to severe health problems long-term. While arsenic is a common contaminant worldwide, it is particularly prevalent in Bangladesh and parts of India. This link is direct, from drinking water to human consumption.
Recent research on a base of 400,000 people conducted at the University of Manchester and the CSIR Institute of Chemical Biology in Calcutta, has concluded that eating rice with high levels of arsenic also leads to long-term genetic damage in humans. http://www.nature.com/srep/index.html
We have all heard of the “food-chain” – a series of consequences in the chain of inter-dependent events. What is likely happening here is that water has become contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic, this water is not only consumed as drinking water but is used to irrigate the rice paddies and taken up by the rice which is then consumed by humans who now show high levels of arsenic.
This is why, as we have maintained for many years, many of the problems of third world countries can be tracked back to the quality of the water. Sure, people need food, but the food invariably requires water.
While this article focuses on India, the US also has areas of high arsenic concentrations as the map from the United States Geological Survey. Arsenic is widespread throughout the USA and certain regions in the western USA have levels higher than the EPA maximum allowable levels.
According to the EPA’s website http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/arsenic/index.cfm “....non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.”
In 2001 the EPA revisited the arsenic problem in the USA and revised downward the arsenic standard for drinking water to .010 parts per million (10 parts per billion) to protect consumers served by public water systems from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic.
A well designed distiller, such as a Pure Water brand distiller will remove 99+% of arsenic in water consistently and a distiller is strongly recommended for those living in high arsenic areas.