It has been confirmed through a recent national study of public water that arsenic levels were not uniform. Even after implementing the new national regulatory standard in the US, this was the result. When the study to assess differences in public drinking water arsenic exposure was first carried out by researchers in Columbia, it was confirmed that Arsenic Concentrations In Drinking Water In the US was high. This implies that it is possible Community Water system reliant on groundwater would not stop anytime soon. And it will result in using more than the maximum containment level thereby raising concerns. The Environmental Health Perspective published these findings online.
According to the postdoctoral research fellow in environmental health sciences, Anne Nigra, the research affects public health efforts that focus on advancing environmental justice and minimizing arsenic exposure levels. She continued that, “systemic studies of inequalities in public drinking water exposures have been lacking until now.” Through these findings, it was discovered that certain communities are in dire need of protective public health measures as soon as possible.
Anne Nigra further stated that “We aimed to seek out subgroups whose water arsenic concentrations are above 10πg/L after the new maximum arsenic contaminant levels were implemented and therefore at disproportionate risk of arsenic-related adverse health outcomes.” Some of the adverse health outcomes are cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and adverse birth outcomes.
Research carried out by the Columbia research team has shown that reducing the MCL from 50 to 10 πg/L can prevent cancer cases of 200 to 900 per year. It has been discovered that arsenic, a water contaminant, and toxic human carcinogen, is present in several aquifers in the US.
There was a comparison between the arsenic concentration of water from 2006 to 2008 and that of 2009 to 2011, the period for compliance with EPA’s directives.
The three-year average arsenic concentration was estimated for 2,740 countries and 36,406 local water systems. The difference between them was compared in means and quartiles of water arsenic between the three-year periods for sociodemographic subgroups and U.S regions.
Analyses were performed according to the data obtained from the EPA databases of available water. From 2006 – 2011, and using the arsenic monitoring data, the researchers examined close to 13 million records which were obtained from 139,000 public water systems that 290 million people are using.
Data were collected from 46 States including Navajo Nation, Washington D.C, and American Indian tribes from 95 percent of the total population that were being served by the public water.
Arsenic Concentrations In Drinking Water
Results showed that the community water system arsenic concentrations reduced by 10 percent throughout the nation from 2006 to 2008 and from 2009 to 2011. For the southwest, the reduction was 11.4 percent and 37 percent for New England. However, public drinking water arsenic concentration hasn’t reduced despite the reduction in arsenic concentration for Southwestern U.S, the Pacific Northwest most importantly, the Central Midwest. Also, communities with a smaller population who depend on groundwater, are prone to have high Arsenic concentrations In drinking water.
The communities that did not comply with the arsenic MLC were commonly those served by groundwater (95%), in the southwest (61%), Hispanic communities (38%), and smaller populations (1,102 people).
It was revealed by Nigra that, “Estimating public drinking water arsenic exposure for sociodemographic and geographic subgroups is critical for evaluating whether inequalities in arsenic exposure and compliance with the maximum contaminant level persist across the U.S, to inform future national and state-level arsenic regulatory efforts. And also, to investigate whether inequalities in exposure by subgroup contribute to disparities In arsenic-related diseases.”
Nigra continued that the findings will enable them to resolve environmental justice concerns and take regulatory actions to get rid of exposure inequalities.
She concluded by enjoining the state and federal funding for technical assistance support and infrastructure for water systems to enable a reduction inequalities and to protect several communities in the U.S. Especially those that have been affected by arsenic water exposure.