"Research involving hundreds of Maine children might represent a breakthrough about whether exposure to arsenic in drinking water — even at very low levels — could lead to reduced intelligence, scientists who conducted the study said Wednesday.
Scientists from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire recently completed a five-year study of schoolchildren in Maine who had been exposed to arsenic in well water. The study showed that even at low levels, 5 or more parts per billion, arsenic consumed in drinking water could correlate to lower intelligence, as much as 5 to 6 points on IQ tests.
“Everyone was a little taken aback by that,” said Prof. Amy Schwartz of the University of New Hampshire, referring to the IQ results even at low levels of arsenic exposure. Schwartz coordinated the testing of Maine children. “This is a great piece of public health research. People shouldn’t panic, but be informed.”"