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Arsenic and Arsenic Compunds

Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen. An element in the earth’s crust, inorganic arsenic enters production primarily in the form of arsenic trioxide or “white arsenic.” It is also used as a pure metal and in the form of arsine gas. The most common end-use for arsenic in the U.S. and Massachusetts is as a wood preservative. Massachusetts firms also use arsenic as an intermediary in the manufacture of electronic products. Following the national trend, arsenic use in Massachusetts is growing, with total use up 13% between 1990 and 1996.

Human and animal data suggest that inorganic arsenic is a reproductive hazard. The data are insufficient for developing a definitive causal relationship, especially due to the chance that other chemicals and risk factors were involved in analyses of human exposure.

Massachusetts Use Data on Arsenic and Arsenic Compounds

In Massachusetts, arsenic consumption increased 13% between 1990 and 1996.  Driving the increase was the electronics industry, which did not report any use of arsenic in 1990, but reported almost 73,000 pounds in 1996.