Monday, September 23, 2013

Arsenic in Your Water: Bladder Cancer Anyone?

This handy map shows where there's arsenic in the drinking water

Arsenic is a classic poison, often named in assorted murder mysteries, but now, apparently, coming out of most Americans' drinking water taps. The map attached, compliments of the U.S. Geological Survey, indicated the prime locations affected with the orange and red the worst. If you happen to be in one of those areas, well.....let's just say you don't want to be without Obamacare!

Deborah Blum, writing in the New York Times last week, reviewed recent scientific research on a startling public health threat: naturally occurring arsenic that seeps into groundwater and could well be poisoning those who drink it. Blum explains in her piece:

Long famed for its homicidal toxicity at high doses, a number of studies suggest that arsenic is an astonishingly versatile poison, able to do damage even at low doses. Chronic low-dose exposure has been implicated not only in respiratory problems in children and adults, but in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers of the skin, bladder and lung.

Thank the alert researchers who  first caught on to the problem in Bangladesh, where they were on the lookout for high levels of arsenic. The more research they did, the more negative health effects they found,  even when the contamination didn’t seem so bad. Scientists are now paying attention to the poison in developed countries like the U.S.-  as well they should - what with the difficulty here in getting decent health care.

The researchers' focus is now on specific drinking water sources in the U.S. such as in states like Nevada, where wells sometimes contain arsenic at more than 500 parts per billion, to the upper Midwest and New England, where a belt of arsenic-infused bedrock taints aquifers in stretches from the coast of Maine to a point midway through Massachusetts.  Those living in the Central Valley of California ought not be complacent either, as the researchers have found arsenic in their aquifers as well.

Currently, about 13 million people get their drinking water from private wells with arsenic levels above the federal standard (10 ppb).  Will they - or are they - opposing Obamacare? If so they had better have top notch cancer insurance!

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