Posted on November 17, 2020 kellysmith
[Nov 16, 2020, NHPR.com]: The state has a new effort to protect low-income pregnant women and their babies from arsenic exposure using the WIC food assistance program.
The program will give out water pitchers with a three-year supply of arsenic filters to pregnant WIC users with unsafe arsenic levels in their home wells. It’s paid for by the state drinking and groundwater trust fund.
Arsenic is a carcinogen that can harm babies’ development in utero and early childhood. The state recently cut its standard for arsenic in drinking water in half, becoming only the second state to differ from the federal arsenic limit.
WIC program administrator Lissa Sirois, with the Department of Health and Human Services, said their first client whose private well was tested had a high enough arsenic level to qualify.
“We’re lucky enough that we have the funding to extend it to after the baby is born,” Sirois said. “So when moms are preparing formula, it makes us feel better to know that she’ll have a safe water source too.”