As of Tuesday, March 19, 2013
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. — Officials from the Southwest Public Health District were notified through a letter last month from the Georgia Department of Public Health that analyses had shown elevated levels of arsenic in several wells in Thomas County.
The presence of arsenic is naturally occurring in rocks and soil. It dissolves into water over time, although water running through municipal systems are routinely tested to ensure safe arsenic levels.
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has analyzed water samples in Thomas County since 2007. Arsenic was detected in 25 samples, 17 of which exceeded the maximum containment level of 10 parts per billion, a report with the letter showed.
While exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in drinking water for a short period of time is not an immediate health concern, it may pose a risk over a long period — including elevated cancer rates. While several cancer incidence rates were elevated in Thomas County during the time in question, there were no cases that could be attributed to arsenic exposure, the report said.
The report also added that the levels were too low for noncancer symptoms and disease to occur.