Ohio to survey arsenic in water
A government-led effort to find Ohio’s arsenic “hot spots” in groundwater is taking its first steps in Licking County.
State and county health officials plan to hand out sample bottles to residents at a Tuesday-night workshop and offer free lab tests to determine whether the poisonous metal is in their well water.
The test results will serve a broader public need, providing the U.S. Geological Survey and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency with information on where arsenic could pose a health threat.
“We’re trying to fill in our understanding of which parts of the state and which settings are most vulnerable for arsenic,” said Mary Ann Thomas, a geological survey hydrologist.
Officials say they hope the public can help tailor a statewide program in which Ohioans pitch in to identify where this hazard exists. A second workshop is scheduled for Aug. 14.
“What most people aren’t aware of is at lower levels, it’s not an acute poison, but it can be a chronic one,” said Bob Frey, the health-assessment chief at the Ohio Department of Health.
People who drink water contaminated with arsenic for years are at higher risk of developing skin, liver, bladder and lung cancers. In 2001, the U.S. EPA lowered its safe drinking-water standard for arsenic from a concentration of 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.
Frey said the EPA would have lowered the safe concentration to 0 parts, but arsenic is so common in water across the United States that it would be impossible to get rid of all of it. Under certain chemical conditions, arsenic can leak into groundwater from soil and minerals. read complete article…
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