Full project title: “Arsenic and Aging: Engaging Mainers age 55+ in testing their drinking water for arsenic and other heavy metals.”
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, arsenic is the number one contaminant of concern for human health in the US. Long term exposure to water with arsenic may lead to a host of health issues including heart disease, cancer of the bladder, lung, liver, prostate, and skin, and diabetes. Public water systems must not exceed the 10 µg/L Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Though public drinking water is federally regulated, private wells are not. Maine has among the highest per-capita reliance on private wells for drinking water in the United States and yet approximately 10% of Maine wells have levels of arsenic above 10 µg/L. Despite these statistics, testing rates in Maine remain low. The “Arsenic and Aging” project aims to help older Mainers assure that they are drinking healthy water while engaging them in a research study to understand the relationship between contaminant exposures and hallmarks of aging.
Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory’s All About Arsenic+ program has partnered with University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health program to offer drinking water testing for our Maine residents aged 55 years and older. University of New England’s Center for Excellence supports public health works to create opportunities for good health. They offer a Legacy Scholars program for adults aged 55 and older to participate as subjects in research studies on health and wellness of aging.