To the Editor:
Twenty-four thousand. That’s the number of people estimated to die globally each year from arsenic poisoning, according to heathandenviorment.org.
Arsenic is highly toxic to the human body when consumed at a high level regularly and has been shown to cause cancer and skin lesions. Arsenic is also linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes and has shown to be a cause for increased death in young adults.
As an eighth-grade class, one of our science projects was to collect well water from our homes and test it for arsenic, lead, etc. Some of the homes we tested were town water supply, drilled well and hand-dug wells. The arsenic levels in homes with town water compared to the homes with well water was very different; the data varied from 0.41 to 13.41 arsenic levels.
After looking at the collected data and graphs, my teacher told us about how the state of Maine was talking about changing the safe arsenic level from 10 ppm to 5 ppm. I started to wonder even if the state of Maine didn’t pass the 5 ppm, should the town of Bar Harbor change the safe level of arsenic in wells? Should the town of Bar Harbor make arsenic tests required?
After looking more, our data showed, out of the 22 homes we surveyed, one of them had an arsenic level over 10 ppm. Looking at arsenic levels over 5 ppm, there were three homes that had arsenic levels over 5 ppm and one that had 4.81 (which, in my opinion, is cutting it very close.)
If the town of Bar Harbor did decide to make the safe arsenic drinking level 5 ppm instead of 10 ppm, lots more homes would require arsenic filters. If the town is considering moving the safe drinking water levels, they should also consider providing free testing to homes in Bar Harbor with wells. Most people don’t even know nor think about arsenic when drinking water from their home. They assume the water is safe, but if your water isn’t annually getting tested then there is a chance you could have arsenic in your water.