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E-M:/ Have your water tested for arsenic at low cost

Enviro-Mich message from "Jeff Surfus" <jeffsurfus@msn.com>

As many of you know, arsenic has been a hot issue of late.  Since arsenic
is such a concern in Michigan, I thought the following information would
be helpful particularly to those who are on well water and are curious
about the arsenic levels in their water.

For $15 you can get your arsenic tested as part of a national research
study.  They will provide the necessary bottles and will confidentially
tell you the results and what you can do about it.  Read more below...

Jeff Surfus
Clean Water Action


University Project Tests Wellwater for Arsenic
U.S. Newswire
22 Mar 10:36

University Project Tests Wellwater For Arsenic: Any Resident
Can Have Water Tested; EPA Arsenic Rule Implementation Delayed
To: National Desk
Contact: Hope Taylor, 828-251-1291, for the Clean Water Fund
of North Carolina;
or Rick Maas, 828-251-6366, for the Environmental
Quality Institute

ASHEVILLE, N.C., March 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On what should
have been the eve of the implementation of the Environmental
Protection Agency's ("EPA") new drinking water standard for
arsenic, the Environmental Quality Institute ("EQI") at the
University of North Carolina-Asheville today announced a major
research initiative to assess arsenic levels in groundwater
supplies across the country.

EQI is asking U.S. residents to submit their water for
testing during this study, which will continue for an extended
period, though results will be announced as they accumulate.
Widely recognized as one of the leading U.S. drinking water
research centers, the EQI will evaluate water from thousands of
households on public, private, community and individual well
water systems to determine risks on a geographic basis and to
determine the true prevalence of arsenic contamination in the
United States' well water supply systems.

Unlike lead contamination of drinking water, which usually
comes from old pipes and fixtures, arsenic contamination occurs
naturally in ground water in some areas (rather than surface
water, such as streams as reservoirs) pumped from deep
underground rock, gravel or sandy soils. Recent studies have
confirmed that arsenic is a far more powerful human carcinogen
than previously thought. "Arsenic is a known cause of cancer
when it is found in drinking water. It is critical for people
on private wells to check their water to see if it has unsafe
arsenic levels," said Erik Olson, senior attorney for the
Natural Resources Defense Council.

Arsenic is also under study as a likely endocrine disrupter
at low concentrations, perhaps providing a link to long-term
increased risks of vascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

EPA proposed a new lower standard of 10 parts per billion
("ppb") at the very end of the Clinton administration, which
would still give a 500 cases-per-million lifetime cancer risk,
disappointing environmental groups who advocated for reducing
the enforceable arsenic limit to 5 or even 2 ppb. Standards
for other known or suspected carcinogens are set at one to
10 cases-per-million.

In a last minute proposal to withdraw the arsenic rule,
starting with a 60-day delay of implementation, EPA
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman acknowledged Tuesday that
"the standard should be less than 50 ppb," but called for
additional review before rulemaking.

Hope Taylor, director of the Clean Water Fund of North
Carolina, responded, "There are strong interests resisting the
more protective 10 ppb standard for arsenic because of costs as
well as liability for mining and other industries. At least 10
ppb was a step in the right direction. Now the Bush
administration is setting up to undermine even this improvement,
somewhat ironic given that this week is National Poison
Prevention Week. Knowledge about the arsenic concentration in
your well water is really the best protection. We need to "read
the label" on our drinking water during this Poison Prevention
week, to protect our children from long-term exposure."

While currently available analytical methods are only able to
detect arsenic at levels above 2 ppb, EQI's EPA-approved
instrumentation and methods will enable arsenic levels to be
quantified down to about 0.3 ppb. This more precise measurement
will allow EQI to better assess the prevalence of the risk.

The EQI study will provide researchers with critically needed
information on the geographic areas, well depths, and well ages
at most risk. It will also provide American families with
access to tests to distinguish even very low arsenic levels that
have medical significance to children and adults. Families,
armed with this important information, will be able to remove
arsenic at the tap, either through reverse osmosis filtration,
distillation or anion-exchange filters.

"The ramifications of the study are enormous, given that
approximately 40 percent of Americans are supplied by either
public, private, or individual groundwater systems," said Dr.
Richard Maas, research director for the EQI National Well Water
Study. "We need participation from as many households as
possible to ensure that our data accurately reflects the risks
of this very dangerous carcinogen. Any U.S. resident can have
water tested for arsenic, a true public health threat."

To participate in the EQI arsenic study and receive low-cost,
ultra-sensitive arsenic testing, volunteers can send a check for
$15.00 payable to CWLTI/EQI, UNC-Asheville, CPO 2331, Asheville,
NC 28804. Participants will then receive laboratory-cleaned
sample bottles with instructions for taking and returning
samples. EQI will send participants the confidential results
for their water, along with an explanation of ways to remove
arsenic if needed.

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