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Is All Well With Your Drinking Water?

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More than 15 million homes in the United States get their water from private wells, according to federal estimates.

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates public drinking water, people with private wells need to check their water themselves, along with other maintenance steps.

This is especially important if you're thinking about having a baby. Many studies over the past 15 years have found a greater risk of birth defects in babies whose mothers drank well water with concentrations of certain contaminants.

You can't rely on how your water looks coming out of the faucet to evaluate its safety. That's because dangerous contaminants don't always affect color or smell. One example is nitrate, a chemical found in many fertilizers that can leech into the water table. It's long been linked to birth defects like limb deformities and cleft palates.

A 2016 study done at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health and published in the journal Current Environmental Health Reports linked two other common substances to birth defects: atrazine and arsenic. Atrazine is an herbicide that can get into soil and groundwater. Arsenic most often leeches into water naturally, from bedrock, but that doesn't make it less dangerous.

Various types of birth defects have been seen when two or more of these contaminants are present at the same time.

If a private well is your primary source of drinking water, ask your local health department how to find a water testing facility near you, or call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detailed information on well testing, along with other topics concerning private wells.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=738886

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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