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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9-21

Medical geology of arsenic in groundwater and well water in Southeast Michigan

Department of Public and Environmental Wellness, School of Health Sciences, Environmental Health and Safety Program, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan 48309, USA

Correspondence Address:
Richard Olawoyin
Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan 48309
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_1_17

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Arsenic concentrations exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) maximum containment level (MCL) of 10 μg/l are frequently reported in groundwater and well water in Southeast (SE) Michigan. The following research examined the relationship between arsenic exposure in well water and groundwater in SE Michigan and several adverse health effects including cancer, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, and kidney disease. The expected outcome was to prove that arsenic exposure is a problem in the area while addressing mitigation strategies and technologies needed to reduce exposure. The objective of this research was to propose effective methods and strategies to help mitigate and reduce the risk of arsenic exposure for the population in SE Michigan. Reducing arsenic concentration in well water and groundwater will help reduce adverse health effects as well as keep drinking water safe for residents in the area. Relevant data about the geology of the area and epidemiological studies of arsenic-related disease and mortality rates proved the increased incidence of diseases related to arsenic exposure in the area. The population demographic data and arsenic exposure data were analyzed. The data collected demonstrated that residents in SE Michigan are exposed to elevated arsenic concentrations in well water and groundwater that exceed the EPA MCL. The elevated levels of arsenic in well water and groundwater are due to the mobilized inorganic arsenic in the bedrock aquifers in SE Michigan. The findings from the research show that arsenic, even at low levels, is harmful to human health. Mitigation strategies discussed include legislative action, systems for removing arsenic from water, adopting improved well-drilling practices, education, using bottled water, and more. Implementing these controls would increase the health and quality of life for residents of SE Michigan.

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