The safety of my two young children is foremost in my mind. Is their food free of harmful chemicals or pesticides that may make them sick or affect their brain development? Is our home safe and free of harsh toxins in cleaning products, or furniture flame retardants, that could have a negative impact on their well-being?

When it comes to our drinking water, we are lucky that we rely on public water, which we are confident is safe to drink.

But, for the roughly 50 percent of all Maine families who rely on private well water, including many with small children, this isn’t the case. An estimated 150,000 Mainers are drinking well water that is contaminated with unsafe levels of arsenic and other toxic chemicals. Arsenic exposure is linked to cancers of the bladder, skin and lung, and harm to the brain.

A recent study found that school children in Kennebec County with arsenic in their water had lowered IQ scores by 5-6 points, a large enough gap to require special education services. Sadly, only 45 percent of Maine people with private residential wells get their water tested.

I’m a busy father, and I understand how hectic life can be with two small kids while working full-time. That’s why I really appreciate my state senator, Earle McCormick, who voted in support of L.D. 1162, An Act to Ensure Safe Drinking Water for All Maine Families, which will increase education and training programs in arsenic hotspots such as Kennebec County.

We all should have the peace of mind that the water in our homes is safe to drink.

Brian Ayotte

Hallowell

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