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Is Arsenic from Private New England Wells Contributing to Elevated Rates of Bladder Cancer?

EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers arsenic testing services to identify and protect the public from a wide range of drinking water contaminants.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. Laboratory Locations
EMSL Analytical, Inc. Laboratory Locations

In May, a study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that examined drinking water from private wells, arsenic levels and rates of bladder cancer in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Researchers believe that these private wells that are not subject to federal regulations could be contributing to a 20% higher incidence of bladder cancer for people living in these states.

The study reports that there appears to be an association with an increased risk of bladder cancer due to cumulative exposure to even low to moderate levels of arsenic in drinking water. The researchers also found a link between dug wells, which are shallow, and the potential for manmade arsenic contamination. In the past, arsenic-based pesticides were commonly used in agriculture and could potentially make their way into shallow wells. Another common source of arsenic is from naturally occurring deposits in the earth.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the greatest threat to public health from arsenic originates from contaminated groundwater. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified arsenic and arsenic compounds as carcinogenic to humans, and has also stated that arsenic in drinking water is carcinogenic to humans.

“This new study is a reminder for people with private wells to have their water tested on a regular basis,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Arsenic from wells is not just a concern in parts of New England. Natural deposits of arsenic can be found in many places across the country in addition to contamination concerns due to past agricultural and industrial uses of arsenic and other potentially harmful substances.”

To identify arsenic and other contamination concerns in drinking water, EMSL offers comprehensive water testing services and all of the supplies necessary to submit samples. They have also sponsored an educational video about arsenic exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about arsenic testing or other environmental, health and safety services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 bladder cancer
 well water
 arsenic-based pesticides
 drinking water

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