Students in Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Gail Carlson’s class held a forum on arsenic in Maine wells April 10 at the Maine Lakes Resource Center in Belgrade Lakes. The discussion took place amid Maine legislative action in response to studies linking arsenic to lower IQ levels in children.
“We decided to have [the forum] here and use Belgrade as a community that has private wells and focus here,” Carlson said.
Arsenic contamination attracted more attention in Maine after a 2014 study from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire. For five years researchers examined 272 students in grades three through five at schools in Manchester, Readfield, Monmouth, Wayne, Mount Vernon, and Hallowell, and they found that exposure to low levels of arsenic in unregulated well water could lower IQ levels by up to six points.