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.
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.
"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. The new policy statement, "Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children," offers recommendations for inspection, testing and remediation of wells providing drinking water for children.
"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."
The NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit our Web site at http://www.niehs.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Reference(s): Rogan WJ, Brady MT, the Committee on Environmental Health and the Committee on Infectious Diseases. June, 2009. Technical Report. "Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children." Pediatrics,123:6. DOI: 10.1542/peds2009-0751.
Committee on Environmental Health and Committee on Infectious Diseases. Policy Statement. "Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children." Pediatrics,123:6. DOI: 10.1542/peds2009-0751.
Christine Bruske Flowers | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Coliform bacteria > Committee for Advanced Therapies > Drinking Habits > Environmental Health > Environmental Health Sciences > Health > Infectious Diseases > NIH > agricultural runoff > contaminated by chemicals > drinking water > environmental risk > microorganisms > nitrate > nitrate contamination > pathogenic organisms > well water
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy