Arsenic in a Child's World

Ann Pike-Paris, MS, RN


Pediatr Nurs. 2004;30(3) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Ten-year-old Tim P. presented at a local emergency room complaining of bloody diarrhea. Despite treatment, his diarrhea continued with additional symptoms of nausea, raspy voice, headaches, abdominal pain, tingling of the feet and hands, lethargy, and eczema. Do you recognize the health risks and clinical aspects of arsenic, and could you assist Tim and his family?

Environmental exposure in our children's world to known and unknown toxins is an evolving area of concern and research. Over the past several years the heavy metal arsenic (As) has been found in high concentrations in ground and surface water supplies and soil. If you have a deck, a large wooden playground structure, or you frequent water resources recreationally and use a dock, perhaps you have also become aware of arsenic's unwanted presence in the wood. Pressure treated wood, referred to as CCA (copper chromium arsenate) and once commonly used in multiple applications, is recognized as a primary source of arsenic. Use the case study below to familiarize yourself with the clinical aspects of arsenic, the self-assessment questions to explore your knowledge, the information provided to increase it, and the resources listed to guide you to more expert help.


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