Canadian Lentils vs. Bangladeshi Arsenic – Which Team Are You On?

Canadian Lentils vs. Bangladeshi Arsenic – Which Team Are You On?

Arsenic contamination of water is a worldwide problem. I spent several months in rural China and Mongolia during my fellowship using an experimental heavy metal chelating agent to try to help people that are chronically arsenic poisoned by the water they drink (rural Mongolia) or the coal they used to heat their homes and dry their food (Guizhou province). We had some modest success in mobilizing and liberating arsenic from very seriously poisoned patients with DMPS (a pill that was swallowed and made your sweat and urine stink like rotten eggs). As an objective scientist I have very little confidence that these Canadian researchers will have any luck at all in reducing the total body burden of arsenic in this population of Bangladeshi patients. The first rule of any poisoning is to separate the patient from the poison. That’s not gonna happen if the Bangladeshis are still drinking and washing their food in the same arsenic contaminated water. And since when does selenium – another heavy metal – act as an antidote for arsenic? Never heard of it before. You know – this whole thing might be a scam to sell more lentils. Just saying…

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Written by Poison Boy

Gerry O'Malley (a.k.a Poison Boy) is a board certified ER doctor and toxicologist with a interest in the unusual, terrifying and occasionally hilarious world of poisonings and toxicology. This site is an exploration of poisons of historical interest as well as in current events and pop culture.

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