Arsenic levels rising in domestic wells: 6 things hospitals should know

Droughts and overpumping of aquifers are leading to increased levels of heavy metal in domestic wells, KFF Health News reported May 22.

Six things hospitals should know:

  1. Droughts in states such as Colorado and California are leading to increased arsenic levels in private drinking wells.

  2. About 40 million people rely on domestic wells, the report estimated. Nevada, Arizona and Maine have the highest percentage of domestic well users using water with elevated arsenic levels, one study found.

  3. The number of people exposed to arsenic from wells may rise from about 2.7 million to 4.1 million, according to a statistical model.

  4. Arsenic, a carcinogen that naturally occurs in soil, can cause lifelong health problems such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.

  5. Other heavy metals are showing elevated levels in well drinking water, including uranium, tungsten and manganese.

  6. During dry periods, arsenic levels can double or triple in concentration inside wells.

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