"Arsenic-Tinged Water Plagues Unincorporated Communities"

"Thousands of eastern Coachella Valley residents live in areas that potentially contain hazardous levels of arsenic in their groundwater, a problem officials say could cost millions to remedy.

In Coachella and the unincorporated eastern valley communities of Mecca, Oasis and Thermal, Riverside County environmental health officials know of wells at 19 mobile home and RV parks that recently tested positive for dangerous levels of arsenic ranging from 12 to 91 parts per billion in their groundwater.

Studies have linked arsenic, a naturally occurring tasteless and odorless element, to risks of cancer when ingested over decades at levels of more than 10 parts per billion, according to state and federal health officials. Children are even more susceptible because of their low body weight.

The problem isn't unique to the valley. Arsenic has contaminated water systems across the West, prompting cleanup efforts, officials say."

Marcel Honoré reports for the Palm Springs Desert Sun January 31, 2010.

Monday, February 1, 2010