Testing for Well Water Contamination During Pregnancy
Arsenic contamination in a water well is a serious matter for children or when pregnant. It’s your responsibility to ensure your water’s safety. According to WebMD "At very high levels, arsenic can be fatal. At lower levels, arsenic can cause nausea and vomiting and decrease the amount of red and white blood cells produced by the body. It also causes abnormal heart rhythms, may damage blood vessels, and causes a pins and needles sensation in the hands and feet." Annual testing is a smart and affordable way to ensure that the water your family drinks, baths and cooks with is safe to drink. While we in New England live in a region where we have ample clean ground water, there are still circumstances when you should test for contaminants more than annually.
If someone in your home is nursing or pregnant, or if you have very small children in your household water safety should be a priority. Many contaminants that can be found in groundwater may be within safe EPA levels, but even in small doses can create health problems during pregnancy and in young children.
Common Contaminants To Test For If You Are Pregnant
People who drink contaminated water regularly can be at risk for serious health problems including gastrointestinal, reproductive and neurological disorders. Pregnancy can make women particularly susceptible to health issues at much lower contaminant levels. There are several common contaminants to test for including:
NATURALLY OCCURRING RADON AND ARSENIC
In certain geographic areas of the country including New England, naturally occurring radon and arsenic may be present in significant amounts. These elements are found naturally in the rocks and soil in our region. Radon can be released into the air when showering and accumulation can increase the risk of lung cancer. One in five wells in New England show at least trace amounts of arsenic. Long-term exposure to even trace amounts can cause learning and neurological disabilities. Both are especially dangerous even in small amounts to pregnant women and small children.
NITRITE AND NITRATE WATER CONTAMINATION
Found in many foods, nitrite is safe in small doses. However when present in drinking water in higher doses, nitrites and nitrates ingested during pregnancy or when nursing can affect health and may cause “blue baby syndrome” in infants and small children. Nitrites can occur from flooded sewers, fertilizer, and agricultural runoff. The presence of nitrite is governed by your local geology as well.
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS IN WELL WATER
Otherwise, known as industrial contamination, it is caused by your home's location in relation to manufacturing plants or gas stations. VOC presence is usually a result of runoff from these sources.
WATER BORNE BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION
Cryptosporidium and Ecoli can get into a well if it is near a flooded sewer, failed septic system, or livestock. Some bacteria in water is harmless, while others can cause people to get sick quickly. Fecal coliform bacteria indicates the feces and other contaminants have entered your water supply and can cause serious illness during pregnancy such as diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis.
OTHER POTENTIAL WATER CONTAMINANTS
If you are pregnant, nursing, or have small children in the home and you live in certain geographic areas you may want to include testing for lead, mercury, radium, atrazine and pesticides.
Testing annually is a good general precaution. If other homes in your neighborhood have experienced problems or if someone in your home is nursing or pregnant more frequent testing may be prudent. The best solution is to contact a state-certified well water professional like Skillings & Sons. Our water well professionals can walk you through the process and make recommendations to remedy any problems that might arise.
Contact Skillings & Sons today to schedule a test of your drinking water or call 1 (800) 441-6281