To the Editor: Well-water arsenic levels

To the Editor:

We are students at Mount Desert Elementary School and we feel it is necessary to let you know about the issue of arsenic in our state. The bill LD-1570 is working on being passed. It will make it so the max containment level in Maine changes from 10 to 5 ppb (parts per billion). The bill also makes it so people who are renting their house must disclose the results of well water testing to their renters.

Earlier this year we participated in the All About Arsenic project. This project is a SEPA funded project through the MDI Biological Laboratory. It includes providing well water samples to people in our community. We learned about arsenic and did a classroom investigation on the impact of arsenic on lettuce seed. This project made us understand how important it is to test your well water regularly and make sure you have a low level of arsenic.

The expense for an arsenic test can vary from $30 to $150. For low-income families, this could be difficult. If this bill were to be passed, it would provide free well water testing to low-income families. We feel it is so important to help and protect the Maine residents from the harmful effects from arsenic.

Contaminated water used for drinking, food preparation and irrigation of food crops poses a great threat to public health from arsenic. Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking water and food can cause many forms of cancer including skin, bladder, kidney, liver and lung while having a high dosage can lead to skin lesions.

Part of the All About Arsenic project is to provide well water tests to community members. We have spent time analyzing the data and we found 20 submitted well water tests fell between the range of 5 ppb and 10 ppb. That is over 9 percent of the wells we tested in Maine. So those people think that their well water is safe but in reality any arsenic in well water is harmful. It bothers us that there are so many people that think their well water is healthy but in actuality any arsenic is not safe to drink.

We hope this letter was informative and may be a reminder for you to have your well water tested every year.


7th and 8th grade science classes

Mount Desert Elementary School

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