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How Arsenic Affects You & Your Family

Arsenic has been a hot topic for the past few years. Many people are aware this element can be found in water, but many don’t understand it. Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In utero and early childhood exposure has been linked to negative impacts on cognitive development and increased deaths in young adults.

So what does one do when they see that their Arsenic levels are above the EPA levels? The Homeowner typically becomes scared and refuses to consume or even bath in their water. They fear that they are going to turn green (no really, I have heard this many times). What do they do next? They start to research on Google. Unfortunately, Google search is not the best approach when finding out treatment methods as it can lead you to making impulsive decisions, over spending, or even more so, fall for scare tactics.

First thing you can do is take a deep breath and start drinking and cooking with bottled water. The next step is to educate yourself on what Arsenic is and how it can affect you and your family. Lastly, forgive yourself for not being aware that a colorless, odorless, and tasteless element was found in your water.

The next steps are to get in touch with a Company that specializes in water treatment. While doing this keep in mind that much like Car Dealerships some Water Treatment Companies have Sales People. Some salespeople are reputable while others over sell.

During this crucial part of the process keep the following in mind:

  • The best way to search for a reputable Company is receiving as many different quotes-this is a good way to deter those over sellers out.
  • Ask for references. If they are in Business then they should be able to provide you with a list of Happy Customers you can contact directly.
  • Request Proof of licenses/insurance. Make sure they are following the law and have all the appropriate licenses.
  • Ask for future costs of Service. The initial cost of the system may be reasonably priced, but how much would the system cost to keep it running? Have them break down the cost for you.
  • Ask if there is more than one option of Treatment.
  • Ask about their Guarantees and Warranties.
  • Read over the Contracts (make sure to read the fine print).
  • Allow yourself sometime to make a decision.

Whole House Point of Use

9 out of 10 people will immediately request a Whole House quote. A trustworthy Company should evaluate your levels and provide you a logical reason as to why they recommend that option.

Here is why:
If your Arsenic levels are above 100 ug/L then a Whole House option should be considered. The reason behind this is because Arsenic is absorbed through the skin at a 10% absorption rate which would in fact make the levels above the limits when bathing. Keep in mind that there are different treatment options for a Whole House Arsenic Removal System and here are some steps to follow:

  • Will it take out both Arsenic #3 & #5? There are two types of Arsenic, a good way to remember the difference is Arsenic #5 is like a high five- it’s easier to remove and takes up less space in a tank. Reverse Osmosis and Anion Softeners will only remove Arsenic #5.
  • Ask if there are any swap out tank charges and how frequently they will need to be replaced when they are exhausted.
  • See if there are options available to by-pass certain faucets or fixtures. This is important and I always like to explain to customers that every time you run your washing machine, wash your car, or flush your toilet the water is being treated and the life of the tank/filter is greatly reduced. Therefore, if they are able to by-pass unnecessary fixtures it can be very beneficial.

Once the Customer is aware of these differences 9 out of 10 will choose a Point of Use System just treating the Kitchen sink. Most of the reasons are due to finances and that there is a substantial difference in pricing between the two. Keep in mind that when levels are below 100 ug/L treatment options are a preference so do what is best for you and your family.

Arsenic Abatement Grant Program

Do you own your own a single-family home with a private well? Has it tested positive for arsenic? You may qualify for a grant through the Maine State Housing Authority to help with the cost of a treatment system.

Find income eligibility along with program details by emailing Megan McDonough at mmcdonough@mainehousing.org or visit their website at www.mainehousing.org.

Click on the “Homeowner” tab and then select “Homeowner Programs” to find out if you qualify for this program, or Click Here.