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How to Participate: Healthy Water, Healthy Aging

It is easy to participate in the Healthy Water, Healthy Aging project. We have outlined the five steps below with How-to videos for additional guidance. We also have a flowchart of the project at the bottom of the page. If you have any questions about the steps involved, please contact us at drinkingwater@mdibl.org.

University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health has joined with MDI Biological Laboratory in developing a survey for Mainers who want to share information about their home drinking water as part of a study on toxic metal exposure and its effects on health and well-being as we age. Be sure to add your name and address at the end of the survey to receive your free water sampling kit!

STEP 1: Take the survey to request a test kit

Click on the link above to complete the survey. At the end of the survey, you will be asked whether you want a free test kit. If you say “yes” then you will be asked to give us your name and mailing address so we can send you your free test kit for arsenic and other toxic metals. If you would like to contribute toenail samples so we can determine your arsenic exposure, you can request a toenail sample kit as well!

STEP 2: Open the water sampling kit

Your kit will contain a sample container and refrigerator magnet with matching sample numbers. Keep the magnet to remember your sample number! The water sample will be sealed with stretchy Parafilm and placed in a small plastic Ziploc bag for return to us. You will find a cover letter, instructions for sampling, and a datasheet to complete and sign. Your kit will include a return envelope if you will be mailing your sample to us rather than taking it to a central collection location. Your kit will also include a toenail collection kit if you requested one!

STEP 3: Collect a water sample

The video will walk you through how to take your water sample. Note that there is a different protocol for well water vs public water. The largest concern for public water samples is lead, which can leach from old lead pipes and pipes with lead solder. For these samples, it will be important to take the sample first thing in the morning without first running the tap. You will let the water run for five minutes if your tap water source is a well.

STEP 4: Check Your Results!

Your samples will be sent to the Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core for testing. We will notify you by e-mail when your results are available. 

You can check your results by adding your sample number (located on the magnet) to the sample look-up box on the right:

STEP 5: Participate in the Health and Well Being Questionnaire!

After you get your test results, we will send you an invitation to participate in our Health and Well-Being Questionnaire. . 

Let us know if you have trouble accessing the questionnaire!

NEXT STEPS: Click here to learn more about EPA Standards for Drinking Water Contaminants and other helpful resources.

Do you want to skip any steps? That’s ok! Look at this flowchart and you will see that all information is useful!