Arsenic Level of 10 ppb too High?

At a time when the Jan. 23, 2006 deadline requiring water systems to adjust to the new federal arsenic standard of 10 ppb is at our door steps, yet another study has tied arsenic to tumor growth.

Last month, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center released a study which indicated that arsenic levels as low as 10 ppb could stimulate the growth of cancerous tumors and cause them to spread faster. According to the study, levels as low as 4 ppb could stimulate blood vessel growth.

In 2004, another study published in the August edition of Chemical Research in Toxicology also suggested that arsenic could be toxic at much lower levels that previously thought, and 10 ppb could still be too high.

The topic of arsenic has received a lot of press coverage ever since the EPA issued the new standard of 10 ppb for arsenic in public drinking water supplies. Compliance costs have been especially overwhelming for many small communities with centrally treated water. That hasn’t stopped a growing number of states from considering setting the cap a lot lower.

Arsenic levels of 3 to 4 ppb can be achieved with adsorption and RO POU/POE treatment technologies. Many water treatment professionals have even seen levels of non-detect after installation of POU and POE treatment technologies. In addition, POU/POE systems offer a number of other benefits. The short turn-around time for installing one of these systems is a key advantage offering quick arsenic levels compliance. In addition, POU/POE technologies are certified according to the ANSI/NSF standards, which assures reliability and safety. Yet, another advantage making POU/POE treatment technologies more appealing is that they offer consumers, especially the ones living in communities with small public water systems, overall low implementation/operation costs to deliver safe drinking water.

Although previous studies have determined that 0 ppb is the only level of arsenic in water that is completely safe for human consumption, the cost required to implement a compliance standard of 0 ppb is too high. I doubt that the growing number of studies linking arsenic in drinking water to cancer development and growth would lead to a revision of the arsenic levels soon.

However, today’s consumer awareness is at an all-time-high. Consumers are health conscious and are in search of alternative solutions such as POU/POE treatment technologies to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

All of this only confirms that POU/POE is a viable solution. Health research studies and consumer awareness continue to be the POU/POE industry’s driving forces creating new avenues for water treatment dealers.

September Highlights

Coming up this month is the WQA Mid-Year Meeting in Quebec City, Canada, on September 14–16, as well as the IBWA 47th Annual Convention and Tradeshow, to be held in Orlando, Fla., September 27–30 (see IBWA Show Guide on page 23 for schedule of events and exhibitor’s list). Don’t miss the opportunity to join the industry at these information-packed events. Attending industry shows and meetings offers you the opportunity to stay ahead of important issues and share thoughts with your peers. For those of you who won’t have the chance to attend, Water Quality Products will offer complete coverage of these events in its October issue.

Neda Simeonova, editor nsimeonova@sgcmail.com

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