Type 2 Diabetes – Does Arsenic In Well Water Contribute to Gestational Diabetes?

Scientists in New Hampshire in the United States, have found a link between arsenic in private well water and Gestational, or pregnancy-related diabetes. Their study reported on in November 2016 in the journal Environmental Health, compared 1151 women enrolled in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study…

  • a total of 105 women, a little over 9 percent, had glucose intolerance, the cause of both Gestational and Type 2 diabetes, and
  • 14 women, slightly over 1 percent, had overt Gestational diabetes.

A little over 10 percent of women drank water from private wells contaminated with more than ten micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. For each five micrograms of arsenic per liter of water, there was a 10 percent increase in the risk of developing Gestational diabetes. Among the women who drank contaminated water and who developed Gestational diabetes, 70 percent were obese.

How arsenic could interact with a pregnant woman’s body to raise the risk of developing diabetes is not clear. Obesity by itself increases the risk of diabetes during pregnancy. Before conception it is best to normalize your weight and, if you drink private well water have the well tested for arsenic. If arsenic is found in the well while you are pregnant, seriously consider drinking bottled water.

Arsenic is a chemical found in many rock formations from where it can enter well water. It is also used for a wide variety of industries and agriculture. It is used for…

  • copper smelting,
  • mining,
  • burning coal,
  • wood preservation,
  • poisoning pests on crops such as cotton.

In the past arsenic was used in certain fertilizers and weed killers. Once released into the environment arsenic lasts forever. Rain and snow dissolve arsenic in the air and deposit it in the soil. Boiling and hypochlorite bleach will not destroy arsenic because it is not a living thing. Boiling can increase the amount of arsenic per cup as clean water turns to steam. Arsenic can be removed from water by…

  • ion exchange – pollutants such as arsenic are replaced by safe or less hazardous substances. Positively charged particles are transferred to negatively charged particles.
  • ultrafiltration – forces molecules through a closely woven material, removing pollutants. The same process used by our kidneys to eliminate salt, sugar, urea, and excess water from the blood
  • distillation – water is boiled and the clean steam collected and turned into liquid water
  • reverse osmosis – water pressure pushes water through a membrane to remove impurities

Do not hesitate to contact your Public Health Department for help regarding the examination and treatment of private well water.

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