Keeping the Lead out of Drinking Water

The recent lead in drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan raises questions about the role of water distribution infrastructure in altering the quality of water delivered to consumers.  In Flint, lead was leached from the water distribution system after the city changed from the Detroit Water System, which takes water from Lake Huron, to the

Meet the Water Quality & Health Council

Who We Are:  The WQ&HC is a multidisciplinary group of independent experts sponsored by the American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division. The group’s knowledge and experience span science and medicine, public health policy, consumer advocacy, environmental engineering, risk assessment and emergency response.  In 2016, the American Chemistry Council and the WQ&HC will celebrate the 25th

A Snow Crystal is Born

Because we think quite a bit about good old H2O, our holiday gift to you is a mesmerizing video of the birth of a snow crystal, provided with the kind permission of Professor Kenneth Libbrecht of Caltech. Professor Libbrecht photographs snow crystals as they grow, controlling their shapes by changing the temperature and humidity. Enjoy!

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

Do Point-of-Use Water Quality Interventions Work?

In many regions of the developing world, good drinking water quality is far from a “given.” The fact is that water contaminated with fecal matter causes widespread diarrheal illness and death, disproportionally affecting children under the age of five.  Recently, a group of researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration assessed several water treatment interventions taken at the household point of use for their effectiveness in improving water quality and preventing diarrhea.

Substances that Cause Tap Water Taste, Odor and Appearance

A drink of tap water is a complex sensory experience that reflects a wide range of factors, including: the natural environment of the source water, including whether the source water hails from above (lake or river) or below (ground water) the Earth’s surface; water treatment processes; the household plumbing system; and the consumer’s sensitivity to taste and odor. This week we examine some of the common substances in water and the scenarios that may impart a color, taste or odor to tap water.

Tap Water Taste, Odor and Appearance: Why They Matter

We instinctively use our senses to evaluate tap water. The best rated water looks crystal-clear, and tastes and smells refreshing. Appearance, taste and odor are not necessarily indicative of actual water quality, however, because water contaminants may be clear, tasteless and odorless. Case in point: the small Canadian city of Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Water, Sanitation and the Millennium Development Goals: A Report Card on Global Progress

Graphic from UN Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015 website  In 2000, the United Nations adopted a set of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve the lives of the poorest people on Earth.  As the 15-year MDG timeline runs out, a final report on this ambitious program reflects both mixed success and overall optimism. 

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).

World Water Day, 2015:  A Vital Role for Dihydrogen Oxide in Sustainable Development

World Water Day, March 22, is an annual celebration of one of humanity’s most precious resources—the chemical compound dihydrogen oxide, more commonly known as water, or, “H2O,”   the medium of life on the Blue Planet.  Twenty-two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly instituted this annual celebration, and each has a particular theme.  This year’s