Arsenic in Well Water Arsenic in Well Water

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Arsenic in Well Water Arsenic in Well Water Powered By Docstoc
                        On October 31, 2001,               system is not possible, water well replacement                                      •   DEQ, Drinking Water and Radiological Protection                             John Engler, Governor • Russell J. Harding, Director
                        the United States                  or modification may be options. However, well                                           Division, Constitution Hall, 525 West Allegan, P.O.
                                                                                                                                                   Box 30630, Lansing, MI 48909-8130, or
  INTERPRET             Environmental                      modification may not always result in arsenic
                        Protection Agency                  reduction. Contact your local health department                                     •   DCH can be reached toll free by calling 1-800-648-6942
  MY WATER                                                                                                                                         or at 517-335-8350,

                        (EPA) set a maximum                before replacing or modifying your water well.
  SAMPLE                contaminant level                  • If a water source meeting the recommended                                         • DEQ can be reached by calling 517-241-1381.
  RESULTS?              (MCL) of 0.01 mg/L                 health advisory is not available, water                                             The following Web sites may also be
                                                                                                                                               referenced to obtain more information about

                        for arsenic in drinking            treatment may be an alternative. Reverse
                        water. The new MCL                 osmosis (RO), distillation, and activated alumina                                   arsenic:
replaces the previous MCL of 0.05 mg/L. THE                water treatment devices may be the most                                             • U.S. EPA at
                                                                                                                                               • U.S. Geological Survey at
RECOMMENDED ARSENIC DRINKING WATER HEALTH                  effective and practical arsenic treatment
ADVISORY IS:  0.01 MG/L. Expressed in different            methods for residential water supplies. Distillation
units of measure, this level is the same as:               and RO are best suited as point-of-use                                              •      DEQ Arsenic Information at
0.01 parts per million (ppm), or 10 micrograms/            treatment devices while activated alumina may                                              deq/1,1607,7-135-3313_3675_3691-9753--,00.html
liter (µg/L), or 10 parts per billion (ppb).               be best for treatment of the entire household
                                                           system. Water softeners and activated
The MCL serves as an advisory or
                                                           carbon filters do not reduce arsenic levels
recommendation for a safe drinking water
                                                           effectively. All treatment devices need regular
level in private single family residential water                                                                                                                                  Michigan Arsenic Levels
                                                           maintenance. Failure to properly maintain a water
wells. However, certain public drinking water
                                                           treatment system may result in exposure to higher
supplies are required by law to meet the new
                                                           levels of arsenic than that coming from the well. An
standard by January 23, 2006.
                                                           RO unit requires periodic filter replacement, and the
                                                           activated alumina device should be maintained
  WHAT SHOULD                  • If the arsenic level
                                                           by a reputable service contract and should
                               in your well water
  I DO TO                      exceeds the health          not be a unit that requires in-home filter media                                          Highest level for county in the DEQ

  REDUCE MY                                                regeneration. Private water supply treatment is not                                       Ground Water Data Base.
                               advisory, we
                                                           regulated nor considered a preferred permanent
  ARSENIC                      recommend that                                                                                                                    >50 ug/L
                                                           solution to water quality problems. Before installing                                                 >20 ug/L
  EXPOSURE?                    you stop using your
                                                           a water treatment system, you should carefully                                                        >10 ug/L
                               well water for drinking
                               and cooking. Bottled        research the treatment method's effectiveness
                                                                                                                                                                 Less Than 10 ug/L
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Health Information for
                                                           for contaminant reduction and the system's
water can serve as an alternative for these
purposes. Since the MCL for arsenic is a long-             operational and maintenance requirements.                                                                                                                             Water Well Users
                                                           Selection of a treatment unit which is certified by
term exposure standard protective against
                                                           NSF International is recommended. Information is
cancer, and is based on consuming two liters                                                                                                                                                                              This pamphlet provides answers to some of the questions about
                                                           available at their Web site at
of water per day for a 70-year period,                                                                                                                                                                                    the potential problems related to arsenic in drinking water wells
unintentional consumption of water containing                                                                                                                                                                             in Michigan. It tells you who to contact if you have questions
                                                           FOR MORE INFORMATION:                                                                                                                                             or concerns or if you would like your well water tested for
arsenic between 0.01 ppm and 0.05 ppm is not                                       
                                                           If you or your physician have questions, please                                                                                                                                             arsenic.
a significant exposure.
                                                           contact your local health department or the             The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will not discriminate against any              Michigan Department of Community Health
• Connection to a community water supply                                                                          individual or group on the basis of race, sex, religion, age, national origin, color, marital status,
                                                           following:                                            disability, or political beliefs. Questions or concerns should be directed to the Office of Personnel
system may be the most cost-effective                                                                                                          Services, PO Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909.                                    Michigan Department of Environmental
                                                           • Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH),                                                                                                                                Quality
solution. If not already in compliance with                   Division of Environmental and Occupational
                                                                                                                                            Authority: PA 368 OF 1978 Total Copies: 20,300
                                                                                                                                                                  Total Cost: $2355.00     Cost Per Copy: $0.12
the MCL, community water supplies will be                     Epidemiology, 3423 North Martin L. King Jr. Boulevard,                                             MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL                             
required to initiate corrective action by January 23,         P.O. Box 30195, Lansing, MI 48909.                                                                                                                                               800-662-9278
2006. When connection to a community water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      EQC 2106
                           Earth materials such            drinking and cooking is a health concern.                                   The way arsenic          being exposed to arsenic at levels of concern.
                                                                                                               WHAT ARE
 HOW CAN                   as bedrock, sand, and         • Arsenic may be inhaled by breathing in                                      affects our bodies is    However, this test will not tell you what type
                           gravel may contain              dust or smoke that contains arsenic. Dust           THE HEALTH              not fully understood.    of arsenic is in your body. TO GET THE MOST
                           naturally occurring             from industrial processes and the smoke             EFFECTS                 Studies of exposed       ACCURATE URINE TEST RESULTS, DO NOT EAT ANY FISH
                           arsenic. This arsenic           from burning wood treated with preservatives        ASSOCIATED              populations in the       OR SEAFOOD FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS BEFORE YOUR
 WATER                     has been dissolved              may contain arsenic. Tobacco smoke                                          United States have       TEST. If needed, your doctor has additional
                                                                                                               WITH ARSENIC
 SUPPLY?                   by and absorbed into            contains very small amounts of arsenic.                                     not shown clear          tests that can be performed to check arsenic
                           the drinking water            • Direct contact exposure to concentrated
                                                                                                               EXPOSURE?               proof of health          levels in your body.
                           we withdraw from                arsenic compounds can be absorbed through                                  problems caused by
the ground water. Ground water is water that               the skin. These types of exposures would be       drinking contaminated water at levels similar to
                                                                                                                                                                 I AM                         Arsenic testing is not
collects and flows within the earth. Some areas            more likely to result from occupational related   those found in Michigan well water.                                              routinely performed
in Michigan have levels of arsenic in drinking             contacts.                                                                                             INTERESTED
                                                                                                                                                                                              on private wells. For
water that are above the recommended health                                                                  Based on studies in other countries, long-term      IN HAVING MY                 a fee, the Michigan
level. Arsenic has no smell or taste in water,                                      If you drink water       exposure to high arsenic levels (generally          WELL WATER
                                                             WHAT                                                                                                                             Department of
so you cannot sense if arsenic is present. The                                      containing arsenic,      greater than 0.30 milligrams per liter [mg/L])      TESTED FOR                   Environmental
best way to determine if your well water is                  FACTORS                several factors will     in drinking water has caused the following
                                                                                                             effects:                                            ARSENIC                      Quality (DEQ),
impacted is to have it tested for arsenic. Check             DETERMINE              determine the health                                                                                      Laboratory Services
with your local health department about                      MY HEALTH              risk. These factors                                                         Section (517-335-8184), or a commercial
the need to have your drinking water tested                                         are:                     • THICKENING and DISCOLORATION of the
                                                             RISK?                                             SKIN. Sometimes these changes can lead           laboratory, certified by the DEQ to test for
for arsenic. You can find your local health                                                                                                                     arsenic, may be contacted to arrange for
department location and phone number at                                                                        to skin cancers. These cancers can be
                                                                                   • DOSE – What is            cured if discovered early.                       arsenic testing of your water supply. The DEQ                                                                                                                                      fee for arsenic testing is $16. For a listing of
                                                           my level of exposure to arsenic?
                                                                                                             • STOMACH PAIN, NAUSEA, VOMITING,                  certified commercial analytical laboratories,
                               Since arsenic is a        • DURATION – How long and how often have I                                                             you may contact the DEQ at the telephone
                                                                                                               and DIARRHEA.
                               natural part of our         been exposed?                                                                                        number listed above or visit their Web site
   HOW CAN I                   environment, most                                                             • NUMBNESS in the HANDS and FEET.        
   BE EXPOSED                  people are exposed        • TYPE of ARSENIC – Have I been exposed to                                                             dwrpd-lab-cert_chem_lab.pdf. Your local
   TO ARSENIC?                 to some amount of           INORGANIC or ORGANIC arsenic?                     Many of the symptoms of exposure to high           health department can also help by providing
                               arsenic. A person                                                             levels of arsenic are also seen with other         you with a list of certified laboratories or by
                               could come in contact     • GENERAL HEALTH, NUTRITIONAL STATUS,               common illnesses, which makes it difficult         making arrangements for the water testing.
                               with arsenic in any of      AGE, and LIFESTYLE – Some people may be           for a doctor to recognize. If you or your
                               the following ways:         affected by lower levels of arsenic while         family members are concerned about health          You may wish to have one or more additional
• The largest source of arsenic comes from the             others remain unaffected. Young children,         problems that may be related to arsenic in         water samples tested to confirm the arsenic
  food we eat. Some fish and seafood contain               the elderly, people with long-term illnesses,     your well water, you should discuss them with      level. Generally, samples taken weeks or
  high amounts of ORGANIC arsenic. This                    and unborn babies are at greater risk. They       your doctor. You should also consider having       months apart have not shown a significant
  type of arsenic is much less harmful than                can be more sensitive to chemical exposures.      your well water tested for arsenic.                change in arsenic levels. However, samples
  INORGANIC arsenic from the ground water.                 Babies are not exposed to arsenic through                                                            taken after a long inactive water use period,
                                                           breast milk at levels of concern even when
• Fortunately, arsenic at levels found in well                                                                  CAN A                  Yes, there are           such as following a vacation, will sometimes
  water is not readily absorbed by the skin, so            their mothers have been exposed.
                                                                                                              MEDICAL                  several ways you         be higher than those taken after extensive
  contact with water (showering, laundering, etc.)                                                                                                              water use, such as lawn watering or doing
  is not a significant risk. Arsenic from a water
                                                                                                              TEST TELL ME             can be tested for
                                                                                                                                                                laundry. You should collect a sample at a time
  supply does not readily disperse into the air,                                                              HOW MUCH                 arsenic exposure.
                                                                                                                                                                that reflects your typical household water use.
  so inhalation during a shower or while washing                                                              ARSENIC IS IN            A urine test is a
                                                                                                                                       simple way to tell
  dishes is not significant. Only water used for                                                              MY BODY?                 if you are currently

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