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Pesticides in Private Water Wells

Water well hand pump

What is the problem?

Contact with pesticides may be related to a variety of acute and chronic health problems. Private water wells have the potential to be contaminated with pesticides, especially in farming areas. About 15% of Iowans use private wells for drinking water. Little is known about the extent of human pesticide exposure from private well water.

What did Tracking do?

To improve the state's ability to measure pesticide exposure, the Iowa Tracking Program will work with the State Hygienic Laboratory and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to map off-label pesticide use, pesticide sales, pesticide application statistics, and private well contamination data.

Improved public health

Being able to identify areas with high pesticide use will help Iowa monitor those areas for health problems that are related to using pesticides. This may also help the Iowa Department of Public Health determine if education and intervention programs are needed or if new regulations or guidelines are needed for monitoring drinking wells.




Understanding the Relationships between Nitrates and Cancer

Irrigation of crops

What is the problem?

Nitrate contamination of drinking water often is found in farming areas, usually from fertilizer runoff and human and animal waste. Some studies in Iowa have suggested a link between nitrate exposure and cancer.

What did Tracking do?

The Iowa Tracking Program will make private and public water supply data and cancer data available to explore possible links between nitrates in drinking water and cancer.

Improved public health

Being able to link water and cancer data may help show associations between health effects data and nitrate contamination data. Further scientific evidence will help to create nitrate management policies and public education materials.


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