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Andy PhD DABT
Andy PhD DABT, Toxicologist
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 136
Experience:  Board certified with 20 years in research or consulting
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Dear Dr. Andy; Another question occurred to me concerning

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Dear Dr. Andy;
Another question occurred to me concerning the arsenic poisoning case. In you last answer you said that the person would have had to have 270mg of arsenic in they urine (a questimette) in order to produce a level of 270ug of arsenic 26 days later. Assuming the person would survive an arsenic level of 270 mg in their urine test, how much arsenic would the person have to ingest in a day to creat 270 mg of arsenic in the urine being tested. What kind of condition would the person be in if they had 270 mg of urine in their body. Would the levels of arsenic found in the dietary supplements I told you were taken creat a 270 mg arsenic level if used at directed. If abused, is there anyway you coulkd guestimate how many capsules would have to be consumed in a day to cause a urine level of 270 mg of arsenic.
Again, thanks for you help. You have been great.
As always;
Chris
Hello again,

The first part of your question is hard to answer there are several variables, the most important would be when the urine sample was taken. The half life of arsenic is about 60 hours, so if you took urine for the entire 60 hours then the total would be a little less than half of the original dose (a little less because there is a small amount that leaves the body in feces). However the urine test is usually done only over 24 hours. Since the arsenic leaves the body in a non-linear fashion, i.e. half the amount leaves in a fixed amount of time called the half life - as opposed to say 5 ug leaving each hour (which would be a linear relationship and is only usually seen with alcohol), then it is not easy to calculate what the urine level would be at any particular 24 hour period and it would be drastically different with only a few hours difference. So as it leaves the body most is lost in the urine in the first half life (50% of the original dose), while the next half life much less would be in the urine (25% of the original dose would be in the urine from hours 60 to 120) and way less in by the third half life (12.5% would be in the urine from hours 120 to 180). So the best guesstimate I can give you is what I said in the beginning. That if you pooled the urine from the first 60 hours then you would get about half of the original dose, so if you assume that the 270 mg was not from a 24 hour test, but from that first 60 hours than you would estimate an original dose of 540 mg. Since it is a 24 hour urine test, it would not get the entire 1/2 dose, so the original dose would be greater than 540 mg, but by how much would depend on when that 24 hours was and to figure it out takes some higher math that I am not good at. So my best guess is about 540 mg or higher.

For the second part, I can't tell you because I don't know how much arsenic is in the dietary supplement. I would need to know the concentration of arsenic in the supplement and the recommended dose of the supplement. As to the condition the person would be in, they would be in very bad condition. It is impossible to say how any individual person would react, but eating 100 to 300 mg has been found to cause death in some, but not all people, so it is possible a 540 mg dose could have caused death, except that you are alive.

If you have the concentration of arsenic in the dietary supplement and the recommended dose then I can calculate it for you. Typically with a poisoning from a single dose the person gets nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, low blood pressure, fast heart rate, low blood cell numbers, and some delayed effects to the skin like loss of the upper layer of skin on the palms of hands and soles of feet, as well as a rash, and Aldrich-Mees lines, which are white lines across the finger nails, which would occur about a month or more after the exposure.

Can you please tell me if you have experienced any symptoms? Symptoms are really the best measure as to how poisoned you were. All my calculations are just guesstimates, if you experienced no symptoms then there is something wrong with the assumptions I used in my calculations and they could be way off. If you had symptoms that are consistent with the levels I have calculated than it would better indicate how much arsenic you were exposed to.

Again I would suggest you report this to the FDA and see what they say. The FDA wants to know about adulterated dietary supplements so they can keep others from getting exposed.

I hope this helps.

Take care,
Andy
Andy PhD DABT and 6 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Dr. Andy;

You do not know how much I appreciate the information you are giving me. I have reported this incident to the FDA MedWatch. Unfortunately, they are not as dedicated as they would like people to believe. I dealt with them in the past and never receivd any meaningful responses.

I do have the test results showing the amount of arsenic that was found in the products that I will send to you. I also have my medical records and will go through them to see all the things I was complaining of. All i remember is being sick and feeling like I was going to die.

Is it ok to click I accept and still be able to ask you questions. Your answers raise questions that i have not thought about. Please let me know.

Thank you. I acept your answer in fact, I love them.

Chris

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Dr. Andy;

The level of arsenic in each pill was 25 ppm with each capsule being about the size of a regular capsule product that are pretty much standardized.

I believe the recommended amount is 5 capsues a day.

If you need more info please let me know.

Thanks

Chris

Hi Chris,

I would love to get more information about what happened. What ever you can send me would be great. You can send me documents through www.mediafire.com, you will have to register, but it is free. You up load your file, then post a link to it on JustAnswer and I can get access to it. However JustAnswer is searchable through Google, so you should black out any personally identifiable information before uploading it. Also I can tell you when I get it and you can remove it from Mediafire after that so it will only be up for a short time.

That is to bad the FDA is not being helpful, I thought they would be more interested since it's their job to be.

Yes it is possible to click accept more than once on the same question.

I need to let you know that I will be at a Film Festival the next 4 days, so there will be a delay in my responses until Monday.

Take care,
Andy
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear XXXXX;

Did you see this message? Any updates. What kind of info would help. There are lots of medical records.

Thanks

Chris

Hi Chris,

I am back to work now, it was a great film festival.

You have lots of medical records about this arsenic exposure? I am looking for what symptoms you had after taking the dietary supplement, I don't need any from before you took the supplement. Also, do you know what form of arsenic was in the supplement (see below); is there a report from testing the capsules?

There is no standard weight of capsules, it is different for each medication. I weighted out a wide range of pills to get an idea of how much a capsule might weight. I got a range of 0.2 to 2.0 grams. So I will assume it is 1.0 gram. A 1.0 gram pill with 25 ppm arsenic would have a total of 25 ug per capsule. So taking 5 a day would give you 125 ug a day. This is way lower than the 540 mg I had guesstimated as the original dose. It would take over 4,000 pills to get to about 540 mg. So this suggests that you were probably exposed to arsenic after when you thought your were. The problem is that arsenic is eliminated from the body so quickly and it has been a long time since the exposure that almost none should be left, so it suggests you are exposed from another source or that this guesstimate is way off. One thing that could throw my calculations off is if you have kidney damage which would slow down the elimination of arsenic. So have you ever been told that you have kidney damage? One other thing is that I have been using the half life for arsenic metal, it might be that the arsenic is an organic arsenic chemical that might have a slower half life. Do you know in what form the arsenic was in?

Take care,
Andy
Andy PhD DABT and 6 other Health Specialists are ready to help you