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Healthy Water, Healthy Aging™

Full project title: “Healthy Water, Healthy Aging™: Engaging Mainers age 55+ in testing their drinking water for arsenic, other heavy 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 “Arsenic and Aging” project, now “Healthy Water, Healthy Aging™” was started 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. The project will pilot PFAS testing with some of our original “Arsenic and Aging” participants who live near potential high-risk areas for PFAS. Learn more about project expansion on our PFAS in drinking water page.


University of New England’s Center for Excellence

The 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. The “Arsenic and Aging” project was initiated with this partnership.

Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core

The Dartmouth Trace Element Anlaysis 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.

Maine Laboratories

Maine Laboratories is joining this project as we add PFAS testing to our adults aged 55 and older who consume their drinking water from wells and live in areas potential for PFAS contamination. Maine Laboratories in a testing facility solely focused on PFAS.

Healthy Acadia Healthy Aging

Healthy Acadia is helping to identify households at risk for PFAS contamination among its Healthy Aging program participants. As a recipent of Community Action funds from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Healthy Acadia is supporting the testing of 35 households of older Mainers at risk from and concerned about PFAS contamination of their private wells.

Harvard School of Public Health

Already working on public health initiatives along Maine’s coast, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health is partnering with MDI Biological Laboratory, Healthy Acadia, and University of New England to support testing of households in Maine for PFAS contamination.

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

Kat Taylor

Project Coordinator, Community Environmental Health Laboratory

MDI Biological Laboratory

Cait Bailey

Systems Developer II, Community Environmental Health Laboratory

MDI Biological Laboratory

Ramsey Steiner

Research Scientist, Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core

Dartmouth College