Arsenic: it's everywhere, and that may not be a bad thing

Or so says a emeritus prof from the Royal Military College. I have to admit that I'm a little uncomfortable with his thesis, but I'll let you make up your own minds.

Among Reimer’s favourite ways of initiating that discussion is to ply an audience with wine and shrimp before giving a talk about arsenic. He then points out to them just how much arsenic they have ingested as part of these tempting treats. Once the initial shock of that revelation wears off, Reimer points out that most forms of seafood contain the organic molecule arsenobetaine (C5H11AsO2), a benign form of arsenic that we can consume without hazard. No less compelling is his observation that this molecule is essential to the survival of these ocean dwellers, who use it as an osmolyte to obtain fresh water.