Activated Carbon and Water Treatment

Drinking water treatment facilities employ a host of technologies to convert “raw” water from rivers, lakes and underground sources into safe, potable water.  At the treatment plant, these technologies are applied in a particular order, known as a “treatment train,” to produce water of optimum quality for the consumer.  This article focuses on one of

The Lesson in Costco Chicken Salad

The recent multistate outbreak of foodborne illness linked to Costco rotisserie chicken salad is another reminder that safe food practices are as essential to fresh produce as they are to raw meats and poultry. The Costco outbreak was traced, not to contaminated chicken or tainted mayonnaise, but to E.coli-contaminated fresh celery in a diced vegetable

The Problem with Intermittent Water Delivery in Developing Countries

It’s great to have water piped into your home, but what happens when the flow of water is intermittent?   It is not uncommon for communities in developing countries to supply water for only a few hours or less every other day, due to an inadequate water supply and/or to save on the electrical costs of

The Latin American Cholera Epidemic of the 1990’s: My View from the Inside

From 1981 through most of 1995 I was an official in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is also the Regional Office for the Americas for the World Health Organization.  One of my major responsibilities was assisting Latin American and Caribbean countries in the prevention and mitigation of waterborne and water related diseases, which

Enjoying Reptiles and Amphibians while Avoiding Salmonella

Children love to explore the great outdoors.  Spotting turtles, frogs, lizards and snakes in the wild is fun and can help build an appreciation of the wonders of wildlife.  To help keep the experience healthy, parents and guardians should be aware that reptiles and amphibians can harbor Salmonella bacteria that are easily transmitted to people

Recent Trends in Waterborne Disease Outbreaks in the US

When waterborne outbreaks occur, US local and state health departments are obliged to report them to “WBDOSS,” the national Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System.1 Since 1985, outbreak data have been compiled and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”2 (MMWR).

Drinking Water Safety and the Alaska Native People

Today almost all Alaska Native villages have treated drinking water supplies available for the residents by means of piped distribution systems and/or watering points from which the treated water can be hauled to the homes not connected to the distribution systems.  Many of these facilities were installed by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1960

Foregoing Childhood Immunizations: Fear and Consequences

Parents can use this CDC “button” to create a personalized vaccination schedule for children 6 years old or younger Childhood immunizations protect against a wide variety of diseases, including diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, rubella, varicella (chicken pox) and smallpox.  Yet, some parents reject these immunizations as unsafe, citing a fear of potential

Staying Healthy in the Hot Tub

What is a hot tub? A stress-free, aqueous haven, or a water barrel brimming with bacteria? That was the essence of the question addressed in a recent Huffington Post interview with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist Michele Hlavsa and University of Arizona Professor Charles Gerba. Although the headlines asserted, “This Will Make

State Says Chlorine Controlling Naegleria in Louisiana

A focused effort to rid a Louisiana water system of a rare but deadly amoeba by raising the minimum chlorine disinfectant level is paying off.  The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals announced recently that 22 water samples taken in St. Bernard Parish in late January tested negative for the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.  A new