Arsenic, an odorless, tasteless poison, has been detected in thousands of private wells in Maine, and lawmakers fear many more cases are going undetected, and unaddressed, due to a lack of funding.
"The cost of testing is expensive," said Sen. Joyce Maker (R-Washington), who is sponsoring a bill to set aside $500 thousand in state funding to help low income families pay for filtration systems.
"It is all over the state of Maine," said Sen. Maker. "There is a great need for families."
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Prevent Harm, a nonprofit supporting the legislation, estimates one-in-eight Maine wells contain high levels of arsenic, which has been linked to cancer and neurological issues.
According to a study by the Environmental Health Strategies Center, fewer than half of Maine wells have been tested for arsenic.
"It frightens me that there are other young families that could be exposed to arsenic without knowing it," said Katelyn Picard, an expectant mother who recently discovered high levels of arsenic in her new home.
Fortunately, Picard was able to find the finances for a $2,000 filtration system for her well water.
"I feel that it isn't right that families could get poisoned in their own homes simply because they can't afford the high cost of a filtration system," she said.
Sen. Maker's bill had a public hearing Wednesday before a committee.