According to researchers at Columbia University, even small amounts of arsenic in your drinking water can lower children’s IQ. If you’re wondering if your local water supply has arsenic in it, then wonder no more: Just about every water system – private or public – does. The study suggests that 5 or more parts per billion can impact children’s cognitive abilities. The EPA standard for acceptable arsenic levels is 10 parts per billion or less.
Scientists from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire recently completed a five-year study of 272 schoolchildren in Maine who had been exposed to arsenic in well water. They found that even at low levels, 5 or more parts per billion, the exposure could correlate to lower intelligence, as much as five to six points on IQ tests.
“Everyone was a little taken aback by that,” said professor Amy Schwartz of the University of New Hampshire, who coordinated the testing of Maine children. “This is a great piece of public health research. People shouldn’t panic, but be informed.”