Arsenic is believed to be a cause of bladder cancer, which is higher in Maine than the rest of the nation. Data released in 2013 by the National Cancer Institute from a study done from 2006-2010 shows the following incidence of bladder cancer:

• Men: 48 out of 100,000 in Maine, compared to 36.1 in the United States. In Franklin County, it’s 57.6 per 100,000; in Kennebec County, it’s 43.8.

• Women: 13.2 out of 100,000 in Maine, compared to 9 in the United States. In Somerset County, it’s 16.7 per 100,000; in Kennebec County, it’s 11.4.

A 2010 study by the U.S. Geological Survey of 11,000 wells in 531 Maine towns showed three “high clusters” of arsenic in Down East, southern coast and greater Augusta area. A follow-up study by Columbia University estimates 31 percent of private wells sampled “exceeded national standards by 10 to more than 100 times.”

A water test kit can be bought for $15-$25 and, if results are elevated, undercounter filter systems cost about a $100. For more information about water testing, call 287-2070. For more information aboutcancers in Maine, read the “Maine Annual Cancer Report 2013” at

Don EldridgeWest Gardiner

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.