Recently the Arkansas Department of Health released a Letter Health Consultation in response to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) findings of current elevated contaminants of concern in domestic well data from Board Camp. The contaminants of concern include benzene, ethylbenzene and MTBE. The ADEQ also believes there is still free product in the contaminated plume surrounding these domestic wells. Although all of the impacted residents have been hooked up to public water supply, many of the wells continued to be used as a secondary water source and for other uses such as irrigation. The ADH and ATSDR have concluded that the exposure to water through ingestion from the domestic wells with elevated benzene necessitates a public health hazard due to current and past exposure to residents as the primary drinking water source.
According to the ATSDR eating or drinking foods containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions or rapid heart rate. The major effect of benzene from long term exposure is a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia, multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia.
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