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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: A Community-Driven Intervention in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, Succeeds in Altering Water Testing Behavior.

Authors: Paul, Michael P; Rigrod, Pierce; Wingate, Steve; Borsuk, Mark E

Published In J Environ Health, (2015 Dec)

Abstract: Maximum contaminant levels created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act do not apply to private wells. Rather, the onus is on individual households to undertake regular water testing. Several barriers exist to testing and treating water from private wells, including a lack of awareness about both well water as a potential source of contaminants and government-recommended water testing schedules; a health literacy level that may not be sufficient to interpret complex environmental health messages; the inconvenience of water testing; the financial costs of testing and treatment; and a myriad of available treatment options. The existence of these barriers is problematic because well water can be a source of hazardous contaminants. This article describes an initiative--undertaken by the Tuftonboro (New Hampshire) Conservation Commission, with support from state agencies and a research program at Dartmouth College--to increase water testing rates in a rural region with a relatively high number of wells. The project prompted more water tests at the state laboratory in one day than in the prior six years. This suggests that community-driven, collaborative efforts to overcome practical barriers could be successful at raising testing rates and ultimately improving public health.

PubMed ID: 26738316 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Community Participation*; Drinking Water/analysis*; Environmental Health/methods*; Environmental Monitoring; Groundwater/analysis*; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; New Hampshire; Public Health/methods*; Rural Health; Water Wells

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