2 Million Americans May Have Arsenic in Their Well Water

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News Picture: 2 Million Americans May Have Arsenic in Their Well WaterBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — As many as 2 million Americans may be drinking well water which contains potentially dangerous amounts of arsenic, a brand-new government study warns.

The analysis, conducted by researchers coming from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in addition to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in addition to Prevention, measured arsenic levels in private wells across the United States.

Study author Joseph Ayotte described the private well problem as “widespread.”

“We define ‘high arsenic’ to mean arsenic [levels] greater than 10 micrograms per liter,” he said. which mirrors standards used when evaluating public wells, he noted.

Ayotte is usually a supervisory hydrologist with USGS at the brand-new England Water Science Center.

According to the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), arsenic is usually an odorless, tasteless in addition to colorless element. In addition to water, the item is usually commonly found in food, air in addition to soil.

the item is usually also often added to the ingredient mix of pesticides, wood preservatives in addition to tobacco, NIEHS experts say.

The problem: Exposure to high levels of arsenic is usually known to raise the risk for a broad range of cancers, including skin, lung, bladder, kidney in addition to liver cancers. the item can also threaten the nervous system, respiratory function, heart health in addition to the immune system, the NIEHS says.

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, given recent research which suggests which even low-level exposure may threaten the health of a growing fetus.

Exposure typically occurs via consumption of certain types of food — such as rice in addition to fish — in addition to/or contaminated water. In particular, groundwater is usually often a reservoir for relatively high levels of arsenic, most commonly in rural areas across the Southwest, Midwest in addition to Northeast.

Municipal water treatment facilities are able to filter out arsenic when a water source is usually deemed to be contaminated, according to the study team. (the item can’t be removed on one’s own by either boiling or bleaching.)

however municipalities do not monitor the nation’s private wells, which are mostly unregulated by either federal or state authorities. Private wells serve roughly 44 million Americans, though well usage is usually distributed unevenly across the country, the study found.

which means which private well owners are left to their own devices when the item comes to being aware of or actually identifying any arsenic contamination problem, the researchers said.

The brand-new investigation set out to map private well concerns in addition to identify arsenic hotspots by sifting through a wide range of geological information concerning regional rainfall in addition to chemical composition data.

Some of the data were drawn coming from samples taken coming from more than 20,000 private wells at some point between 1970 in addition to 2013, while some of the some other data reflected arsenic concentration information sourced coming from nearly 19,000 private wells.

within the end, the team concluded which the lion’s share of hotspots — locations where private well arsenic levels exceeded 10 micrograms per liter — were located within the brand-new England region, the upper Midwest, the Southwest, in addition to across southern Texas.

The investigators calculated which such wells likely serve more than 2 million residents, many of whom probably have no idea which they are routinely exposed to contaminated water.

“This particular study,” said Ayotte, “is usually a first step in understanding the potentially exposed high arsenic domestic well population. the item underscores the need for all well owners to test their wells in addition to to take action to reduce exposure, if appropriate.”

Residents can try to remove arsenic coming from their well water with water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration or ion exchange, the NIEHS says. Your local health department can recommend the best procedures for your well.

Ayotte in addition to his colleagues reported their findings within the Oct. 18 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

The American Chemical Society declined to offer comment on the findings.

however Hans Plugge, a senior toxicologist with Verisk 3E, a consulting firm based in Bethesda, Md., expressed little surprise at the findings.

“in addition to if I lived in one of these problem areas, I might definitely think about getting my water tested,” said Plugge, who wasn’t involved with the study.

Still, the likelihood of discovering which a well is usually contaminated with high arsenic levels is usually relatively low, he said.

“within the worst case, the item’s about an 18 percent probability which the item’s 10 micrograms per liter or more. in addition to the authors point out which which’s a conservative estimate, meaning the chances are probably even lower,” Plugge said. “however yes, I’d get the item tested. in addition to if the item’s high then the item’s definitely a not bad idea to do something about the item.”

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Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Joseph Ayotte, supervisory hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, brand-new England Water Science Center, Pembroke, N.H.; Hans Plugge, senior toxicologist, Verisk 3E, Bethesda, Md.; Oct. 18, 2017, Environmental Science & Technology

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