All About Arsenic+ is a citizen science collaboration with communities to assess arsenic and other toxic contaminants in water, soil, and crops. It all began with looking at arsenic and other heavy metals. Arsenic, a naturally occurring contaminant in some groundwater, is a major contaminant of concern for human health worldwide. Long term exposure to water with arsenic can lead to a host of health issues.
The program started with All About Arsenic in 2015. This NIGMS SEPA project engages students and their communities in sampling well water, building data literacy skills, and creating change in their communities. Students at participating schools throughout Maine and New Hampshire continue to learn about heavy metal contaminants through hands on sampling, data literacy tools, and how to communicate their findings in the communities.
The success and momentum of All About Arsenic developed another project, Orchards, Gardens, and Fields in 2022. The Gloria C. Mackenzie Foundation funded project continues to engage the students in the same way as All About Arsenic with an extended focus on soil and crop samples from their communities.
As our citizen scientists continued to bring awareness and change to our communities, the All About Arsenic+ program partnered with the University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health in 2023 to establish the Healthy Water, Healthy Aging™ project. UNE offers a Legacy Scholars program for adults 55 and older to participate as subjects in research studies on health and wellness of aging. This citizen science project is focused on bringing drinking water testing and educational support to our Maine residents aged 55 years and older.