US drinking water is generally assumed to be safe and healthful. Of those Americans served by municipal water systems, 70 percent derive their water from surface water sources, e.g., rivers, lakes and reservoirs, after it is ushered through a series of critical treatment steps. The remaining 30 percent are served by municipal groundwater systems that
Chlorine and chlorine-based disinfectants are used worldwide to destroy germs in drinking water and swimming pools. One of the reasons for the widespread use of chlorine disinfectants is that they provide a “residual” level of protection against waterborne pathogens. A chlorine residual is a low level of chlorine remaining in water after its initial application.
Over the past few years, concerns have been expressed about US drinking water quality and source water protection. Many of these concerns are raised without context or perspective and may leave people with a distorted view of the overall role of disinfection and disinfection by-products (DBPs) in public health. DBPs are unwanted substances in drinking
Chilliwack, British Columbia is the site of an unfolding controversy over whether or not to add chlorine to what residents say is some of the best tasting drinking water in all of Canada. The Fraser Health Authority (FHA) recently advised the city of 80,000 people that chlorine is needed in the municipal drinking water based
Water is one of the world’s most precious resources. It is a basic human need. Unfortunately, 40 percent of the 10 million people in Haiti do not have access to clean water. As a result, many Haitians die from waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and chronic diarrhea. Most Haitians gather water from community water
How would you describe your tap water? A rich bouquet of earthy flavors? Sulfurous with a hint of chlorine? Or simply divine? The aesthetic properties of your tap water depend upon your local natural water supply source, how your water is treated, and how it is delivered to you. In the case of private well
Wisconsin is about to roll the dice on public health by rolling back a state rule requiring municipal governments to disinfect drinking water [GOP proposes rollback of mandatory disinfection for drinking water]. The current rule protects the safety of drinking water for 12 percent of Wisconsin’s municipal water supply systems in some of the state’s
Cholera, an acute diarrheal disease, is one of Mother Nature’s greatest weapons of mass destruction. Recent reports of cholera epidemics in Haiti, Africa and Asia are strong reminders that this ancient disease stands ready to surge given half a chance. This disease wreaks havoc in poor countries and communities that lack basic public health measures.
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
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