9. What have WHO and IARC established about arsenic?
International bodies have previously evaluated arsenic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a provisional guideline value of 10 µg/litre for arsenic in drinking-water as the practical quantification limit. That is, it is acknowledged that even this limit may not be entirely free of health risks but there are practical problems in many areas of the world in reducing levels in drinking water below this limit.
Arsenic and arsenic compounds were evaluated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). There was sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity to humans and limited evidence for carcinogenicity to animals, and the overall evaluation was that "arsenic and arsenic compounds" are carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) . This evaluation applies to the group of chemicals (i.e. arsenic and arsenic compounds) as a whole and not necessarily to all individual chemicals within the group. More...