The community engagement core aims to reduce health risks of residents in Maine who rely on domestic wells for water supply and who are exposed to arsenic, and other contaminants (Rn, U and Mn). The population relying on domestic wells in New England is subject to lifetime risks for lung and bladder cancers at a staggering 125 in 1 million, ranked second only to that of western states at 152 in 1 million. This risk is likely an underestimate because newer and more data from Maine and New Hampshire have found both higher As concentrations and a higher percentage of wells tested. In 17 towns of central Maine, the Columbia team has found that the percentage of domestic wells exceeding EPA MCL levels for As, Rn, U and Mn are 31%, 29%, 4% and 4%, respectively. Eight percent of well waters have As and Rn both exceeding MCLs. Arsenic testing and treatment will be promoted in this central Maine community before up scaling iin the state of Maine. Our goal is to establish a community engagement working model applicable for risk reduction of domestic well users in New England region, with the following specific aims:
Aim 1. Identify and engage community stakeholders. In year one, a community advisory committee will be formed to guide implementation.
Aim 2. Determine and reduce barriers for testing. By year five, the percentage of residents with private wells in central Maine who have their well water tested for arsenic will double compared to baseline.
Aim 3. Determine whether dissemination of well water As test results has influenced the homeowner's decision to treat for As and determine and reduce barriers for treatment. By year five. The percentage of residents with private wells in central Maine who treat their well water for arsenic will double Aim 4. Raise awareness in the communities of other hazards in their well water: Rn, U and Man. Deliverable: Innovative community participatory tools for delivering outreach to change the behavior of residents of Maine (and beyond) at risk from arsenic exposure will be developed, tested, implemented and evaluated.

Public Health Relevance

The community participatory tools will likely go beyond risk communication to include social norms. They are easily adaptable for use by other Northeastern states with similar arsenic issues, and is also partly translatable to other well water contaminants (e.g. radon, uranium and manganese) that are naturally occurring.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Hazardous Substances Basic Research Grants Program (NIEHS) (P42)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-JAB-J)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Columbia University (N.Y.)
New York
United States
Zip Code
Flanagan, Sara V; Marvinney, Robert G; Zheng, Yan (2015) Influences on domestic well water testing behavior in a Central Maine area with frequent groundwater arsenic occurrence. Sci Total Environ 505:1274-81
Flanagan, Sara V; Marvinney, Robert G; Johnston, Robert A et al. (2015) Dissemination of well water arsenic results to homeowners in Central Maine: influences on mitigation behavior and continued risks for exposure. Sci Total Environ 505:1282-90
Brocato, Jason; Costa, Max (2015) 10th NTES Conference: Nickel and arsenic compounds alter the epigenome of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J Trace Elem Med Biol 31:209-13
McClintock, Tyler R; Chen, Yu; Parvez, Faruque et al. (2014) Association between arsenic exposure from drinking water and hematuria: results from the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 276:21-7
Argos, Maria; Tong, Lin; Pierce, Brandon L et al. (2014) Genome-wide association study of smoking behaviours among Bangladeshi adults. J Med Genet 51:327-33
Zheng, Wei; McLerran, Dale F; Rolland, Betsy A et al. (2014) Burden of total and cause-specific mortality related to tobacco smoking among adults aged ? 45 years in Asia: a pooled analysis of 21 cohorts. PLoS Med 11:e1001631
McClintock, Tyler R; Parvez, Faruque; Wu, Fen et al. (2014) Association between betel quid chewing and carotid intima-media thickness in rural Bangladesh. Int J Epidemiol 43:1174-82
Knappett, P S K; Du, J; Liu, P et al. (2014) Importance of Reversible Attachment in Predicting E. Coli Transport in Saturated Aquifers From Column Experiments. Adv Water Resour 63:120-130
Argos, Maria; Parvez, Faruque; Rahman, Mahfuzar et al. (2014) Arsenic and lung disease mortality in Bangladeshi adults. Epidemiology 25:536-43
van Geen, Alexander; Win, Kyi Htut; Zaw, Than et al. (2014) Confirmation of elevated arsenic levels in groundwater of Myanmar. Sci Total Environ 478:21-4

Showing the most recent 10 out of 193 publications