Mineral - Arsenic

Arsenic is a mineral that has a bad rap but is actually a very good and a necessary mineral in biological functioning. Perhaps the main reason why it has such a bad rap is that of Detective Novels and Crime Statistics.  In those, we see a scary Boogie man type of substance. By the time we finish with this E-Lecture, we shall see a totally different picture. Then you can find those novels and statistics as being sort of comical. A number of minerals have this same bad rap or a totally whacked out view of them. So that we can get to the good parts, let us get the technical parts out of the way. 

The mineral Arsenic is associated with the amino acid Cysteine and follows the UGU codon sequence.  It is used 19,051,284 times in the DNA genetic sequence, carries the -3 valence, and comes in at the 74.92 molecular weight point, which is extremely light. It is known by the symbol of As.

We are going to look at the good stuff related to Arsenic first, then the bad. Likely the main function of biological activity is centered around methyl-group metabolism and polyamine synthesis.  In common talk terms, that means, well itis not clearly understood, but it serves to stabilize and perform essential functions within the cells.  So you might say this mineral serves in a capacity of doing the behind the scenes work in making sure the stage production takes place without a hitch. In this sense, the audience never really sees these workers, with them being out of sight, out of mind.  but if they don't do their job, everyone knows it and even though they still aren't seen doing anything or even nothing.  Then as a secondary action, Arsenic will also perform some actions of sanitation duty and cleansing on a cellular level. Still an action of not being readily observed doing its functions, but the effect is well known if it doesn't do its job.  Aside from this, not a lot else is done with applying Arsenic to human applications. I guess it is sort of dangerous and most people tries to avoid the liability of using it. But in the past, it was used on humans. During the Victorian Era, they would apply an Arsenic concoction to the faces, arms, and underarms of women to give them a pale complexion to the skin, so as to indicate that they didn't work in the fields. Also, they ate it for the same purpose.  Somehow I guess if by making them appear sick, near death, somehow made them more alluring and sexy. Strange, and I guess that at times,  fact is sometimes stranger than fiction when applied to this whole deal. However, as time progressed, scientific understanding became bolder and the practice fell out of favor. From that point on the use of Arsenic went in another direction, a direction of a different form.

Earlier I mentioned that aside from a few purposes, behind the scenes type, that Arsenic isn't really used for human purposes. Well, that is somewhat of a misstatement of sorts.  One area that Arsenic is widely used or was widely used is in animal feed, particular swine and poultry feed. It tends to make them grow faster, improve feed efficiency, and gain weight faster. In the past 20 or years, many people have protested the use of Arsenic and even past laws against the use of it in these applications, but it really hasn't slowed things down much. All they essentially do is change the company's names that produce the additive and change the names of the additives. This becomes a problem because of the accumulating effect of the substance in the meat that is then consumed.  Some of the substance/mineral is excreted through the urine, but not as much as is taken in. Also, the mineral is converted from an organic form to an inorganic form when it is run through the biological entity.  The organic forms of the mineral are not anywhere near as toxic as the inorganic forms of the mineral.  So in these applications of the mineral in its various forms going from organic versions to inorganic versions. Then it accumulates in the water, then it gets recycled. Becomes a problem when recycling water in many places. 

One of the biggest users of Arsenic in its various forms is in the field of Agriculture.  Many insecticides will use some form of Arsenic. In these applications, it can be very hard on Fungi, Bacteria and some types of Parasites. Although the use of it is declining, it was largely replaced with various Antibiotics and now those, in turn, are being phased out.  However, Antibiotics are being phased out faster than Arsenic-based products are. Interestingly, we see the military has used a product called Agent Blue. It performed a similar function to the infamous Agent Orange in Vietnam. Agent Blue was an Arsenic-based product that was used for the same general purpose that Agent Orange was used for.  I am betting that very few of you have heard of Agent Blue, am I right? Sounds like something from a fiction book, but it isn't.  Also, I am thinking that you haven't heard of Agent Purple and Agent White either, right?  All of these were part of the Rainbow of chemicals used in Vietnam.  Back to the Agent Blue, as we are talking about that in particular. Agent Blue as mentioned was an Arsenic-based product and was used mainly on the Rice fields to deprive the enemy of food. It not only killed the  Rice crop in the field at the time, it also made the rice paddy unable to grow rice for many years. I tell you this because it clearly illustrates the application of a naturally occurring mineral, that can be used for good, being used for bad purposes. This is one of those things of a substance not being able to do anything on its own, but how it is used, depends on whether or not itis a good thing or a bad thing. 

then we also have the Arsenic is used as a part of a design in semiconductors and integrated circuits. In this form itis called Gallium arsenide, or GaAs for shortening words. This is a very desirable use as it makes the circuit performance much faster than ones made from Silicon. Of course, the GaAs types are much more expensive.  The GaAs technology helps LED's to convert electrical energy directly into light and it is used in Laser diodes as well.  Many more minor industrial uses can be found, but not anything of notable notation. China produces the vast majority of Arsenic in the world today. Smaller amounts are produced in various countries around the world.  Arsenic is not found in any uniform amounts in the world's crust. The amounts found can vary from location to location within a short distance. However, the greater concentrations can be found in water or where water has accumulated in the past. As the mineral is very light and is highly soluble, so it stands to reason that is why it is found in places where water is or where water has accumulated in the past. 

Essential Oil and Arsenic.
Normally one would like to avoid Arsenic but one must also remember that Arsenic is a necessary mineral and a little bit is absolutely necessary.  We will find some higher levels of Arsenic in the herbs and plants from water sources, primarily, but not limited to the salt water sourced ones. We find  Several Essential oils that tend to have registerable amounts of Arsenic on a ppm basis. These are as follows; Irish Moss, ( not many of you have heard of that one, but itis for real), Grapefruit (all varieties), and, Calamus Root. These essential oils come in at about 1 to 4 ppm. In contrast, we see Bladderwrack and Dulse coming in at around 90 ppm.  

Summary and Additional Discussion. 
I have included a large portion of the discussion and even some summary in the general overview, not by design, but it just happened that way. As you can see we again see a mineral that is directly involved in some form of electricity and energy. My point in mentioning this is to point out the relationship to the conducting of energy forms, electrical based on the minerals and our bodies. If we don't have the minerals to facilitate the conduction of electrical energy then life does not function. In the R and D work that I do, I was working on a product that was related to the oils, it was going to be used with the oils in a product. In running the analysis on the ingredient, I was concerned that one item might show up, that was lead. It would present a problem because of Prop 65 regulations if it did.  Sure enough, it showed up. But the level was very low. But the company I consult for has a zero tolerance for lead because of the prop 65 and other concerns, so that disqualified it then and there. But another substance made its face known, and the number was rather high. I was concerned that it might, but I was hoping against hope that it wouldn't. But it did.  Oh, what was the product/ Glad you asked? It was clay. Plain old clay. The boss man told me that he was concerned that it might show up and sure enough it did. So a different product was sued to develop that product that did not register those 2 items on the banned list. 

I find this to be interesting. I was concerned about the Arsenic because that area where the clay is sourced is known for having high levels of Arsenic in the water. That is why I was concerned. Oh, and BTW, Lead is a mineral that typically shows up with Arsenic. In doing the discussions with the Bossman, fine I will tell you who the boss man is, Steve. He said that he has never seen a clay that does not show these 2 minerals. So he wasn't very hopeful from the get-go in using the desired ingredient.  But here is the curveball. Remember that I mentioned earlier in this discussion about the use of Arsenic in a formula during the Victorian era? Remember that? Why did they use it? It was used to improve complexion.  What is face masks made from clay used for? That is right, to improve the facial complexion.  What mineral was the main ingredient in that formulation? That is right, Arsenic. What mineral does pure clay normally have notable levels of?? Arsenic is the correct answer. Sometimes things never change. I do find it comical that some people will swear by one type of clay over another clay or will prefer one clay over another because of the color or because of the country of origin and the bottom line is likely the levels of Arsenic and Lead being the only real difference. Both minerals do a good job of working together for this purpose. Since many people will have a different requirement, based on a myriad of qualifications, the different clays might be needed because of both color therapy and mineral content to produce the desired or a targeted outcome.  As an interesting note, the area where the clay is sourced from supports a hospital that is way too big for the population served. But the hospital is kept rather quite busy. So what does that suggest from the people living there long term? 

So as we close this I would like to make a quick review. Arsenic is a good mineral that is vital for cell activity regulation. A little bit is necessary. Short-term exposures are not really dangerous at all, but long-term and higher levels of exposures can be harmful and produce a toxicity problem that presents itself in many different ways. For the most part, we don't have to worry about not getting enough Arsenic as normal activities of life seem to give us enough.  Our problem seems to be in getting too much. So with Arsenic we seldom see a deficiency but quite often see a toxicity issue. However, when you see a deficiency with this mineral it usually results in lights out, curtain down situation for you. So what is the purpose of even discussing this mineral? The education of it and the understanding of its role. 


Arsenic - followup.
In the E-Lecture on Arsenic, I made mention about the use of clay and its association with Arsenic. Several people commented and asked some very good questions.  I just didn't think to cover those points specifically, so I will in this post. 
The interesting thing about Arsenic is that if you use it in a raw form, it is sort of referred to as being the organic forms. I am walking a thin line here, translating it to simple speak, so stay with me. But the processed forms are referred to as being the inorganic forms. When the Arsenic is run through the digestive process, it gets converted to a tri-oxide type/form and that form is toxic. But its effect is not toxic until it leaves the body or unless it stays in the body long term.  Now, this is assuming we are talking about a very small dosage. Large amounts, then it becomes a different game. So in using a clay that contains Arsenic, you would have a very small amount, and this is where it really gets good. The Arsenic is a negatively charged element. That deals with the polarity, not a bad attitude. Most, but not all, of the bad bugs and toxins in the digestive tract, carries a  positive charge. So the theory is that the positively charged elements are attracted to and attaches to the negatively charged ones, then the clay, carrying the Arsenic is eliminated from the body, taking the bad bugs and toxins with it. So a small amount of this stuff can, in some situations be good if used properly. This same idea applies to the tooth powders using clay as its base. You brush your teeth with it, it attracts and attaches to the bad bugs in the mouth, you spit it out, wash it out and then your exposure, to a tiny, minute amount, is terminated at that point. 

Then when it comes to face masks, Much the same thing takes place. The Arsenic has the properties that tend to clean and sanitize the cells, and that in turn will firm up the facial muscles, and then you look better, at least for awhile. LOL.  Removes the bad bugs from the skin, not a bad deal. But in the end, you still have to fix the core problems from within. So small amounts are useful and desirable and needed. But large amounts and incorrect use of this mineral can cause issues, serious issues. So when using a mineral for applications like this, one must know what you are doing, Trial and error discovery might lead to a discovery that is undesirable.  
Hope this answers some questions

Thank you for your time and interest. 

Kent King