World Water Week: Planning for Safe Water in an Urbanizing World

Stockholm is the gathering place this week for experts considering the significant challenges of providing safe drinking water in an increasingly urbanizing world. According to the World Water Week website, by 2050 more people will live in cities than are currently living in the entire world (6.8 billion people). The World Bank states that urban

Teach Your Children Well: Shower before Swimming

You are heading off to your community pool. The mental check list goes… Sunscreen?  Yes. Bathing suit?  Of course. Shower?  Probably not. Although the “shower before you swim” rule is consistently posted at community pools, a new University of Michigan report shows parents of young children do not appreciate the role showering plays in keeping

Microbiologist Mom Addresses Daycare Disinfection

It’s a recurring dream:  I am dashing through the house in preparation for a work day that begins with dropping my children at daycare.  Finally, everyone’s dressed and ready to go and we pull out of the driveway only to return minutes later for my forgotten lecture notes, or more urgently, a treasured stuffed animal.

Disinfection Byproducts and the Wrath of Unintended Consequences

In the past century, drinking water chlorination has dramatically reduced the incidence of waterborne disease wherever it has been adopted, contributing to greater life expectancy and healthier societies.  A recent article in the journal Science (The Chlorine Dilemma, January 7) takes a fresh look at water chlorination by stacking the “pros” of this technology against

E.Coli – The Canary in Drinking Water Systems

Waterborne diseases never sleep.  They often make a tragic comeback in the event of a natural disaster, like the earthquake in Haiti.  In that case, cholera devastated the small island nation long after the tremors ceased.  But the cholera bacterium is not the only disease-causing microbe that lurks in untreated or mistreated water:  There are

Norovirus Outbreak in UK

According to officials at Great Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA), the norovirus is spreading rapidly across the UK and causing many major outbreaks.  In the last month health officials have received twice as many positive samples submitted to laboratories, while hospitals have experienced more outbreaks than usual. Since the beginning of November, the number of

EPA Seeking Input from the Public on Drinking Water Strategy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched an online discussion forum to gather public input on how the agency can improve drinking water protection. The information will be used in implementing EPA’s new drinking water strategy, announced by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in March of this year. EPA officials are seeking input from water

Dairy Farmers Fight Johne’s Disease Using Chlorine

New research reported by Kim Cook, a microbiologist at the Agricultural Research Servicein Bowling Green, Kentucky, shows the best way to prevent the spread of Johne’s disease on dairy farms is to use stainless steel water troughs and add chlorine to the water. Johne’s disease is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis and can cause losses of as much as $200,000 per

Russian Poultry Contaminated with Salmonella

In January, Russia began blocking imports of U.S. poultry because of concerns about chlorine rinses, which are routinely used by poultry processors in the United States to kill pathogens that can cause food poisoning among consumers. According to a Russian consumer rights group, 80 percent of poultry meat in Moscow is contaminated with salmonella bacteria. The discovery

Swimming Pool Myths Worth Correcting

Whether it’s for swimming lessons, swim meets, swim parties, water aerobics or just plain splashing around on hot day, your family will probably spend some significant time in a pool this summer. As a research microbiologist specializing in water quality and public health safety, I’d like to correct four common swimming pool myths to help your family enjoy a “Healthy Pools” summer.