Recently, researchers from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire have been doing some testing on elementary students in central Maine studying the connection between high concentrations of arsenic in groundwater and intelligence levels. These researchers are specifically studying third, fourth and fifth grade students that live in areas having high arsenic content in their water supplies.
Arsenic in ground water is largely the result of minerals dissolving from weathered rocks and soils. In 2001 the EPA lowered the maximum level of arsenic permitted in drinking water from 50 micrograms per liter to 10 micrograms per liter. Federal and state geologists have found that a lot of Maine’s landscape contains types of rock that dissolve arsenic and other elements into the ground water.
One University of New Hampshire researcher, Carol Ladd, stated ‘If your water is high in arsenic, you may not want to drink it, or cook rice or spaghetti or other things that absorb a lot of water.’
Three years ago researchers started evaluating elementary-school children in two school districts serving Manchester, Mount Vernon, Readfield, and Wayne. Now they want to expand to an additional 500 students whose families use private well water to see how they compare.
The researchers have studied well-water supplies from more than 200 children and their families, finding that the water supplies of 55 of the first 92 participants had arsenic levels that exceeded federal guidelines. The research into the connection between arsenic levels in groundwater and children’s IQ levels is drawing attention to the frequency of arsenic in water.
In addition to these new concerns, arsenic is a carcinogen which causes many cancers including skin, lung and bladder, as well as cardiovascular disease. Even low concentrations of arsenic contamination can raise the risk of several serious diseases. It’s a good idea to know what your drinking water contains to keep you and your family healthy. To read the entire article, click here.