What the poison does

  • 14/09/2004

What the poison does Arsenic affects the human body in many ways. The first sign of poisoning, which may emerge as long as 10 years after someone starts drinking arsenic-laden water, is appearance of black spots on the upper chest, back and arms, a condition termed melanosis in medical parlance. Palms of the hands or soles become hard and lose sensation (keratosis). A patient may also suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

In the second stage, white spots appear mixed with the black ones, legs swell and the palms and soles crack and sometimes bleed. These sores can become infected and make working and walking very painful. In addition, neural problems appear in the arms and legs, and the kidneys and liver start to malfunction.

In the third stage, the sores turn gangrenous, kidneys and liver may give up, and in around 20 years, cancer shows up.

There is no medicine to cure arsenic toxicity.

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