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Healthy Water, Healthy Aging

Full project title: “Healthy Water, Healthy Aging: Engaging Mainers in testing their drinking water for arsenic, other toxic metals, and PFAS.”

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 “Healthy Water, Healthy Aging” Project helps Mainers over age 18 to ensure that they are drinking healthy water throughout their lifetime while engaging them in a research study to understand the relationship between contaminant exposures and hallmarks of aging.

The project will pilot PFAS testing in communities with identified risks. Learn more about project expansion on our PFAS in drinking water page.

Partners

University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health

The University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health supports public health initiatives 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 well-being.

Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core

The Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core has been an active partner with the All About Arsenic+ program since our first project, All About Arsenic: Data to Action. They specialize in low-level trace metal analysis and speciation in environmental and biological samples.

Island Institute

Island Institute is supporting “Healthy Water, Healthy Aging” through The Island Fellows program. More about the effort to engage residents of Maine’s unbridged islands in this healthy drinking water project can be found on our Maine Islands page.

Project Leadership

Jane E. Disney, Ph.D.

Director, Community Environmental Health Laboratory
MDI Biological Laboratory

Tom Meuser, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Excellence in Aging and Health
University of New England

Amy Steckel

Project Coordinator, Community Environmental Health Laboratory

MDI Biological Laboratory

Cait Bailey

Systems Developer II, Community Environmental Health Laboratory

MDI Biological Laboratory

Ramsey Steiner, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core

Dartmouth College

Morgan Karns

Island Fellow Island Institute and MDI Biological Laboratory