Organic Arsenic vs Inorganic Arsenic: Difference and Comparison

Arsenic, or As the 33rd element of the chemical periodic table, is an element that belongs to the periodic table’s VA group. It is categorized as a metalloid because its physical and chemical characteristics are midway between nonmetals and metals.

The relative atomic mass of this element is 74.92. Arsenic may be found in a variety of oxidation states, including –3, 0, +3, and +5. It comes in three allotropic varieties: yellow, black, and grey.

And this article states the chemical and physical differences between organic and inorganic arsenic, along with their industrial usage and chemical occurrence.

Key Takeaways

  1. Organic arsenic compounds contain carbon, while inorganic arsenic compounds do not.
  2. Inorganic arsenic is more toxic and harmful to humans compared to organic arsenic.
  3. Inorganic arsenic is commonly found in contaminated groundwater, whereas organic arsenic occurs naturally in plants and animals.

Organic Arsenic vs Inorganic arsenic

Inorganic arsenic is a naturally occurring form of arsenic that is found in groundwater, soil, and rocks. It can also be released into the environment through human activities such as mining, smelting, and pesticide use. Organic arsenic is a form of arsenic that is bound to carbon-containing compounds, such as those found in plants and seafood. Organic arsenic is considered to be less toxic and less harmful to human health.

Organic Arsenic vs Inorganic arsenic

Organic arsenic is the arsenic that occurs naturally in plants and animals or in-ground resources as a dissolved component as part of organic compounds.

Some examples of organic arsenic occurring naturally in plants are Arsenobetaine, Cacodylic acid, Arsanilic acid, etc. Seafood is the most common source of arsenic in people’s diets.

Organic arsenic levels are known to be high in shellfish, crabs, and seaweed. Organic arsenic has low toxicity when compared to arsenic’s inorganic form.

When considering inorganic arsenic, it is much more toxic and is found naturally as well. Water, soils, and some terrestrial foods, such as rice, contain inorganic arsenic.

Inorganic arsenic makes up between 25 and 100 percent of arsenic in land-based foods in various parts of the world. Inorganic arsenic has significant toxicity.

Also Read:  GFI vs GFCI: Difference and Comparison

Inorganic arsenic for millennia has been manufactured and utilized economically. Pharmaceuticals, agricultural compounds, semiconductors, and glass-making, as well as other mining purposes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOrganic ArsenicInorganic Arsenic
Found inOrganic arsenic is arsenic that occurs naturally in plants and animals as part of organic compounds. Its atom is attached to a carbon or carbon-based functional group.Arsenic, occurring in nature in inorganic substances is known as inorganic arsenic. It has a simpler form than the organic one.
UsesOrganic arsenic isn’t as raw and useful as the inorganic one. It occurs naturally in plants and also plays an important role in salt and carbon balance throughout the ecosystem.Pesticides and paint pigments include inorganic forms of arsenic. They were also used to cure a range of illnesses and as wood preservatives.
ToxicityOrganic arsenic has a low toxicity concentration. Organic arsenic is eliminated in humans after a few days of intake and causes no damage to the body or any chemical processes in the body.The toxicity of inorganic arsenic is high and can cause fatal diseases or side effects if consumed directly.
Examplesmethylarsonic acid, arsenobetaine, methylarsonic acid, etc.arsenic trioxide, arsenic pentoxide, lead arsenate, sodium arsenite, etc.
Effects on humanDoes Not cause any adverse or worsening effect on the human body.Can cause cancer of the lungs, skin, bladder, or skin. Can be life-taking if consumed or used beyond the limits.

What is Organic Arsenic?

Arsenic (atomic number 33; relative atomic mass 74.92) is a metalloid or semimetal with chemical and physical characteristics that fall somewhere between a metal and a nonmetal.

Arsanilic acid, methylmalonic acid, dimethylarsinic acid (cacodylic acid), and arsenobetaine are some of the most common organic arsenic compounds.

Although it has no direct usage, unlike inorganic arsenic, which is toxic yet serves as a cure for many diseases if used correctly and in a prescribed manner.

Organic arsenic works at ground level as a skeletal compound in maintaining chemical balances and life processes in living beings.

A little topple in their amount in nature can be reflected by an imbalance in the ecosystem and can eventually cause a pandora’s box of events, that’s how important the basic yet non-lethal organic arsenic is important.

Also Read:  Lux vs Lumens: Difference and Comparison

It occurs in various chemical forms like methylarsonic acid, arsenobetaine, methylarsonic acid, etc.

In organic arsenic, a significant factor is that it has a carbon or carbon compound attached to its structure and can be a chained sugar compound like sucrose and ribose sugar.

The structure of organic arsenic is quite complex when compared to inorganic arsenic. Although the structure is complex and sometimes helical, it is completely harmless for humans.

The basic concentration of organic arsenic is most commonly found in sea fishes and crustaceans.

What is Inorganic Arsenic?

Water, soils, and some land foods, such as rice, contain inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic makes up 25 and 100 percent of arsenic in grassland foods in various corners of the world.

It is also an important component because of its industrial applications and availability. The inorganic arsenic is found in dissolved form and has to be extracted chemically to use it multi-purposively.

Pesticides and paint pigments include inorganic forms of arsenic. They were also used to cure a range of illnesses and as wood preservatives.

Two separate lines of population research, defined by the medium of arsenic exposure, provide epidemiological information on arsenic and cancer risk.

Inhalation of inorganic arsenic has been linked to cancer in studies. These studies cover mostly working populations who breathed arsenic and other substances polluted air.

Inorganic arsenic is highly poisonous to humans and must not be consumed. It can cause lung, skin, bladder, liver, kidney, and other organ cancers, as well as harm to the stomach, intestines, nerves, skin, and other tissues.

Direct skin contact can cause irritation, edema, and redness. Low amounts of exposure can cause abnormal heart rhythms, blood vessel damage, and a decrease in red and white blood cell production.

Main Differences Between Organic Arsenic and Inorganic Arsenic

  1. Organic arsenic is not toxic to humans, but inorganic arsenic is very toxic to humans.
  2. Organic arsenic has a complex structure, whereas inorganic arsenic has a simpler structure.
  3. Organic arsenic cannot cause cancer, whereas inorganic arsenic can cause blood and skin cancer.
  4. Examples of organic arsenic compounds are methylarsonic acid, arsenobetaine, whereas examples of inorganic arsenic arsenic trioxide, arsenic pentoxide.
  5. Organic arsenic cannot be used for industrial purposes, whereas inorganic arsenic can be used for industrial purposes after extraction.
References
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304380/
  2. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2016-09/documents/arsenic-compounds.pdf

Last Updated : 09 August, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

23 thoughts on “Organic Arsenic vs Inorganic Arsenic: Difference and Comparison”

    • Absolutely, the article provides an excellent overview of the differences in toxicity between the two forms of arsenic.

      Reply
  1. The comparison table provided here makes it very clear to understand the differences between organic and inorganic arsenic. Great article!

    Reply
  2. The comparison table is particularly helpful in understanding the key differences between organic and inorganic arsenic. Very informative.

    Reply
  3. The relevance and significance of organic arsenic in maintaining chemical balances and life processes are well explained in this article. Very insightful.

    Reply
  4. The detailed overview of the chemical and physical characteristics of arsenic is very informative. This article provides a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

    Reply
  5. The article provides an in-depth understanding of the uses, toxicity, and significance of both organic and inorganic arsenic. Very informative.

    Reply
  6. The chemical and physical characteristics of arsenic are thoroughly explained in this article, providing an in-depth understanding of the topic. Very informative.

    Reply
  7. The details about the different forms of organic arsenic compounds are fascinating and add a lot of depth to the article. Very informative.

    Reply
  8. The significance and importance of organic arsenic in maintaining chemical balances at a ground level are well explained in this article. Very informative.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!