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Should I test my well water for arsenic?
Saturday, June 30, 2018
According to the Florida Department of Health, the areas where arsenic is frequently found in Florida are along the west coast, from Dixie County south to Hillsborough County, and the western half of Polk County. Arsenic occurs naturally in soil and rock, and can dissolve into groundwater. Since arsenic in water has no taste or smell, the only way to detect its presence is lab testing.
Private well owners are not required to test for arsenic, but it is a good idea when you are in one of the areas of higher risk outlined above. If the lab report indicates your well water is contaminated with arsenic, you should contact the local county health department to discuss your options.
There are also medical tests, utilizing blood, urine, hair or fingernails, to determine the level of arsenic in your body. The urine test is considered best if you are trying to determine if there has been recent exposure.
Symptoms of acute, brief exposure to arsenic include abdominal pain, vomiting, and watery diarrhea that contains blood. Long-term exposure symptoms are thickened skin, darker skin, abdominal pain, diarrhea, heart disease, numbness, and cancer. Arsenic can be removed from water by using special filters designed for arsenic removal.
Also, see our blog post What is the danger of radon in well water?
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