News Releases

New England Families Can Find Protection from Arsenic in Drinking Water

National Cancer Institute study signals need for well owners to test, protect water

Lisle, Illinois – Sunday, May 1, marked the beginning of National Drinking Water Week, an annual event intended to raise awareness about water quality issues in the U.S. During National Drinking Water Week, the Water Quality Association (WQA) encourages private well-owners to test their systems and seek appropriate remedies as necessary. With reports of arsenic in drinking water around New England, residents can ensure protection by installing water treatment systems in the home.

“There is hardly any issue more important than clean and healthy water,” remarks Pauli Undesser, WQA’s deputy executive director. “These reports send a signal to well owners that they must empower themselves with testing and treatment.”

A recent National Cancer Institute study looked at the connection between elevated levels of bladder cancer detected in New England and concentrations of arsenic – a waterborne contaminant known to increase the risk of bladder cancer – found in private wells around that region. The study found that reports of bladder cancer in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were twenty percent higher than the national average.

This research took into consideration the fact that New England has a large population receiving their drinking water from private wells, which are not held to the same regulatory standards as municipal water systems. Arsenic can occur naturally or from arsenic-based pesticides that can find their way into ground water. According to the study, “When investigators focused on participants who had used private wells, they saw that people who drank the most water had almost twice the risk of those who drank the least. This association was stronger if dug wells had been used. Dug wells are shallow, less than 50 feet deep, and potentially susceptible to contamination from man-made sources.”

Tips for Private Well Owners

  1. The first step is to get your water tested. Well owners can find state-certified testing laboratories here.
  2. Consult a water treatment professional. You can search for water treatment professionals in your area by clicking here.
  3. Select a product that is tested and certified to remove arsenic. WQA's Product Certification Program is accredited to test and certify water treatment products. To find products that remove arsenic, go to WQA’s website here.