State encourages testing of wells for arsenic

News

November 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A recent study shows hundreds of Iowa residents are drinking tap water polluted with arsenic and health workers are increasing efforts to have private well owners test their water for the poisonous element. Arsenic is found naturally in soil throughout Iowa. It can seep into ground water, which is the source of tap water for more than half the state’s residents.

The Des Moines Register reported drinking large amounts of arsenic over decades can lead to various cancers and cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Short-term exposure can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and skin problems. Health officials across Iowa gathered last week to talk about solutions to the problem. The University of Iowa study found nearly half of the 475 wells checked between 2006 and 2008 tested positive for arsenic.

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