Arsenic Poisoning: Mechanism, Causes, Symptoms & Medico-Legal Importance

Arsenic Poisoning: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment by Forensic Yard

Arsenic is a harmful toxic metallic compound that is found in the soil, air, and water. Research analysts state that almost 95% of the water in Bangladesh and a few other countries are contaminated with arsenic, making the water unfit for drinking purposes.

Arsenic Poisoning is a fatal medical condition that is caused due to accumulation of high levels of arsenic in the body. It affects various internal parts of the human body drastically, such as the liver and kidneys, leading to severe or death conditions. It’s seen that due to its accumulation, people are on the verge of death and thus need to be extremely aware while drinking water from unknown sources.

In this article, we will discuss arsenic poisoning along with the causes, symptoms and treatment associated with it.

Mechanism of Arsenic Poisoning

The mechanism of arsenic excretion occurs due to cellular respiration damage, which is stimulated due to activation of various mitochondrial enzymes and no breakage of oxidative phosphorylation, which eventually oversees severe death conditions.

Causes of Arsenic Poisoning

  • Water contaminated with Arsenic can be harmful. Arsenic can be found in groundwater due to chemical run-off from the industries. Long exposure to such water could result in poisoning.
  • Breathing contaminated air with Arsenic commonly found in mines.
  • Exposure to landfill or waste sites.
  • Eating Arsenic contaminated food.
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Signs and Symptoms of Arsenic Poisoning

The symptoms of arsenic poisoning are seen post intaking such compounds after 1 hour of indigestion. Let’s briefly discuss some significant symptoms.

  • Person suffers from painful throat movements.
  • The vomiting components include bile, mucus, and significant blood traces. 
  • Stool comes in the form of rice water.
  • The phenomenon of vomiting is accompanied by purging.
  • Weight loss, fatigue, malnutrition, and loss of appetite are seen in the patients suffering from arsenic poisoning.
  • Conjunctivitis is also seen in the case of arsenic poisoning.
  • Whitish lines (Mee lines) are seen across the nails and fingers.

Uses of Arsenic

  • Arsenic is used for the production of semiconductors and glasses.
  • Medicinal uses include the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Syphilis.
  • Doctors also use arsenic for treating impotency conditions in male individuals.
  • It’s used for the application of Calico painting and decorating artificial flowers.
  • Arsenic is used in enormous quantities for making the mounting skin layer of the animals.
  • Forest caretakers use arsenic for preserving the material timber from ant attacks.
  • Another additional use is implemented for the preparation of expensive wallpapers.
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Treatment of Arsenic Poisoning

  • Doctors wash the patient’s stomach with pure milk and water for fluctuating the arsenic from the innermost organs.
  • Patients are advised to inhale fresh air within their bodies.
  • Alkaline drinks are given to the patients suffering from arsenic poisoning, and oxygen inhalation treatment is also resumed at the earliest to cure this disease.
  • The prominent method of exchange transfusion is also implemented within the individuals.
  • Haemodialysis is performed to maintain the function of the kidney.
  • Demulcents such as ghee, butter, and water are used for treating the layer of arsenic coating in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • BAL is the most crucial antidote to treat the massive explosion of arsenic poisoning.

Medico-Legal Importance of Arsenic

As per the researchers, arsenic is asserted as a specific kind of homicidal poison used in suicidal cases.

  • It’s because arsenic is available with ease at a very cheap rate.
  • Shopkeepers also supply it while mixing it with other substances.
  • The symptoms of arsenic poisoning tend to be similar to cholera.
  • Suicidal cases rarely take place because intake of arsenic causes severe pain.
  • Chronic poisoning is caused due to consumption of water containing arsenic traits.
  • It’s sometimes applied as a paste to perform procure abortion.
  • Also used as cattle poisons.
  • Accidental poisoning is caused due to inappropriate medicinal usage of arsenic or by mistake with food substances.
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Conclusion 

With all this discussion, we have concluded that arsenic is a toxic substance similar to lead or mercury, which can put someone’s health on the verge of death, and one should avoid consuming such substances.

These compounds should only be prescribed or applied by doctors and experienced experts for medicinal or industrial usage and not for any other irrelevant purposes.

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