Arsenic in water in CT has no color or odor, even when present at elevated levels. Therefore, the only way to determine the arsenic level in your well water is to have a water analysis.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. It is odorless and tasteless. It enters CT drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural (runoff from orchards) and industrial practices (runoff from glass & electronic production wastes ).
Arsenic was used in pressure treated chromated copper arsenate (CCA) wood prior to December 31, 2003. Arsenic is absorbed from drinking contaminated water and eating food cooked in contaminated water and through the skin.
There is some evidence that inhaled or ingested arsenic can injure pregnant women or their unborn babies, although the studies are not definitive. Studies in animals show that large doses of arsenic that cause illness in pregnant females, can also cause low birth weight, fetal malformations, and even fetal death. Arsenic can cross the placenta and has been found in fetal tissues. Arsenic is found at low levels in breast milk.
There is some evidence that long-term exposure to arsenic in children may result in lower IQ scores. There is also some evidence that exposure to arsenic in the womb and early childhood may increase mortality in young adults.
The urine is the most reliable test for arsenic exposure within the last few days. Tests on hair and fingernails can measure exposure to high levels of arsenic over the past 6-12 months. These tests can determine if you hae been exposed to above-average levels of arsenic. They cannot predict whether the arsenic levels in your body will affect your health.
EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million (10 parts per billion) to protect consumers served by public water systems from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic. Arsenic toxicity in the body can increase with time and exposure. The rate of arsenic intake can exceed the rate of elimination from the body.
If you have a private CT well, you are responsible for water analysis and testing.
It is recommended that private wells in CT have a water analysis performed annually for potential acute contaminants such as bacteria and nitrates and a water analysis every 3 years for chronic contaminants including arsenic, radon, lead and copper. If any parameter is found to be above the recommended levels, a confirmation sample should be collected before making any decisions regarding water treatment.
If you need a water analysis for arsenic – call today.