Experts say Iowans worried their private wells may be contaminated with a chemical used to fumigate grain bins can have those wells tested. Federal officials recently revealed tests found wells near three Iowa towns with U-S-D-A grain storage facilities have been contaminated with perchlorate, a chemical used to kill pests. Diana Moles of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has some advice for residents near the towns of Ewart , Hills and Napier. Moles has been told the tests are relatively inexpensive. She suggests contacting one of the two laboratories in Iowa that’s doing the tests.Keystone Laboratories in Newton and the University Hygienic Lab in Iowa City are doing perchlorate analysis. Moles says a D-N-R expert has already tested some wells in the Napier area, but if residents in the other areas don’t want to wait, they can pay a few bucks to get the tests done on their own. Moles says those who depend upon water from a private well should be testing that water anyway. State officials recommend that private wells be tested once a year to check for bacteria — and the samples should be sent in within 30 hours because the bacteria are living organisms. Moles says the tests can reveal the source of any potential contamination. Moles says tests can reveal whether there are nitrates in well water — which she says can cause major health problems. Too many nitrates in the water can cause spontaneous abortions in pregnant women, and babies can suffer “Blue Baby Syndrome” when infants under the age of six months show a blue or lavender color around their mouths, hands and feet. It sometimes causes breathing trouble, makes the babies lethargic and sometimes causes them to lose consciousness. In severe cases, it causes convulsions and even death.
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