Project offers tips to deal with arsenic contamination in water

PORTLAND, Maine — Arsenic is known to cause cancer, and is a major concern in well water in the state of Maine.

University of Southern Maine nursing student Brent Kraushaar has launched an awareness campaign focused on arsenic’s dangers and ways to prevent contamination.

Kraushaar represents the CARE Partnership, a community group at the nursing school that focuses on public outreach regarding cancer prevention. He and the partnership produced a 15-minute video webcast with more details on arsenic contamination and testing, “Arsenic in Public Drinking Water Wells: What You Should Know.”

“My personal project this semester focuses on providing public education regarding arsenic contamination in private drinking water wells, and about new state money available to help financially disadvantaged Mainers treat/test their water,” he said via email.

Drinking arsenic-contaminated water can lead to bladder, kidney, lung, skin, and other forms of cancer, Kraushaar said. “Arsenic is also known to decrease intelligence and memory in developing children, potentially reducing your child’s ability to succeed in school,” he added.

Concentrations of measured arsenic, which is tasteless and odorless, vary throughout the state. Some water wells tested in Maine were over 50 times higher than the maximum “safe” concentration, he said.

The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends testing for arsenic at least every five years.

“Following recent state legislation, money is now available to help you clean and test your drinking water. Protect yourself and your family,” said Kraushaar.

For more information, check out the webcast at, call the Maine CDC public information line at (207) 287-4311 or visit

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