Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Well Water Can Pose Health Risks To Young Children

Date:
May 28, 2009
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Summary:
Private well water should be tested yearly, and in some cases more often, according to new guidance offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Private well water should be tested yearly, and in some cases more often, according to new guidance offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Related Articles


The recommendations call for annual well testing, especially for nitrate and microorganisms such as coliform bacteria, which can indicate that sewage has contaminated the well. The recommendations point out circumstances when additional testing should occur, including testing when there is a new infant in the house or if the well is subjected to structural damage.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, took a lead role in working with the AAP to develop these recommendations and draft a new AAP policy statement about the things parents should do if their children drink well water.

"Children are especially vulnerable to waterborne illnesses that may come from contaminated wells," said Walter J. Rogan, M.D., an epidemiologist at NIEHS and lead author on the policy statement and technical report that appears in the June issue of Pediatrics.

"With few exceptions, well owners are responsible for their own wells," said Rogan. Private wells are not subject to federal regulations and are only minimally regulated by states. With proper care, well water is safe; however, wells can become contaminated by chemicals or pathogenic organisms.

Nitrate, which comes from sewage or fertilizer, is the most common contaminant in wells. The presence of nitrates can be a problem particularly for infants under three months who can not metabolize nitrate. Water with a nitrate concentration of more than 1.0 milligrams per liter should not be used to prepare infant formula or given to a child younger than one year. The policy statement suggests using bottled water for infants when nitrate contamination is detected, or when the source of drinking water is not known.

The policy statement and accompanying technical report point out that water contamination is inherently local, and that families with wells need to keep in contact with state and local health experts to determine what should be tested in their community. For example, some parts of the country may have arsenic, radon, salt intrusion or agricultural runoff that may get into the water supply.

"As people move out of urban and suburban areas into areas that are not reached by municipal water supplies, it is more important than ever that people know who to contact in their local health department to get information about local groundwater conditions," said N. Beth Ragan of NIEHS, who served as consultant on these reports. A compilation of state by state telephone and Web-based resources of local experts is included in the technical report. Approximately one-sixth of U.S. households now get their drinking water from private wells.

NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., says she is pleased that NIEHS researchers took the lead in writing this statement, and continue their longstanding liaisons with the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop state-of-the-science technical reports that can have a direct impact on public health.

"This statement will be extremely useful to many audiences — especially pediatricians," Birnbaum said. "Pediatricians needed a one-stop shopping document that they can share with parents who have concerns about their children's sources of drinking water."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rogan WJ, Brady MT, the Committee on Environmental Health and the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children. Pediatrics, 123:6 DOI: 10.1542/peds2009-0751

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Well Water Can Pose Health Risks To Young Children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093946.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2009, May 28). Well Water Can Pose Health Risks To Young Children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093946.htm
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Well Water Can Pose Health Risks To Young Children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093946.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins