Geologists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently discovered that 13 percent of untreated drinking water contains at least one potentially dangerous element at a concentration exceeding federal regulations or guidelines, reports Scientific American. Researchers checked private wells for 24 trace elements and found that they taint more wells than other pollutants, such as pesticides and industrial chemicals.
This finding is especially disturbing, given that approximately 15 million households, or about 60 million Americans, get their water from private wells, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Arsenic and manganese were among the elements that most frequently exceeded either the health standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the guidelines given by the USGS and the EPA, notes Scientific American. Arsenic is a carcinogen (a cancer-causing substance), and manganese may cause neurological effects.
Public wells do not present the same problem, however, because they are tested regularly to ensure compliance with federal standards.
“Most private well owners test for bacteria every so often, but that is not enough, as the Scientific American article indicates,” states Joseph Frasca, Senior VP at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “EMSL provides testing services for a variety of trace elements that can be found in wells, such as arsenic and manganese.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, food, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.