Nova Scotia's government is urging people to have their well water checked for manganese.

They’re also warning that excessive levels could be harmful -- particularly to children.

Camilla Murphy has two busy young boys and coming in for a cold glass of water after playing outside is pretty much an everyday thing, but the warning from the government has her a bit on guard.

“I’m thinking that I might get my well tested,” Murphy said.

She's been living here 13 years and has never had a problem with her water, nor had it tested.

But Nova Scotians with private wells are being urged to check their drinking water against new national guidelines for the acceptable level of manganese.

“That's a shock,” Murphy said. “Just to know that something they do every day, over and over … brushing their teeth, or getting a drink, washing their hands, or rubbing their face, or whatever, could be causing them harm is really worrisome.”

The new limit set by Health Canada is .12 milligrams per litre.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, says evidence shows consumption of manganese in drinking water above that level over a prolonged period can contribute to serious health problems such as “neurological development issues in infants and children, and issues around memory and speech -- and even walking -- in adults.”

The government says people with well water should be getting their wells tested regularly, anyway. They should be checked every six months for bacteria and every two years for chemical contaminants.

The cost for a bacteria check is about $30 to $50 dollars, but the chemical test can run you up to $300.

“The Nova Scotia Department of Environment has a lot of information on their website around access to testing,” Strang said. “How to test properly and also how to access treatment.”

Murphy says if tests prove her manganese levels too high, she might switch to bottled water, but that's an added cost.

“It was never a thought before, but I really do think people need to know and need to test their water,” said Murphy.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.