Water-borne illness is a public health concern
Poor drinking water quality is a major problem in many parts of mainland Europe, even in the more affluent nations, researchers reported at a World Health Organisation meeting in Budapest. According to WHO statistics, some 20 million people world-wide die each year of water-borne diseases one million of them in Europe.
While new technologies help control and monitor water safety, they can create new hazards; in Germany, for example, studies have shown increasing amounts of drugs and other substances such as sex hormones from contraceptives, pain killers, anti-convulsants and cholesterol lowering drugs are present in drinking water.
New pathogens have emerged as major concerns for industrialised countries, such as Cryptosporidium, a coccidial protozoan parasite now recognised as a common cause of diarrhoea, one of the major killers in the world, according to researchers.
Chemical contaminants with cumulative toxic properties are also a concern to public health experts in Europe, such as lead from water pipes, nitrates and pesticides from agricultural and livestock operations, and natural contaminants such as arsenic and fluoride.
Source: Carl Kovac, Waterborne diseases threaten industrialised countries, British Medical Journal, November 11, 2000.
For text http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7270/1176/c
For Water issues http://www.ncpa.org/pi/enviro/envdex4.html#f
Publish date: 12 December 2000
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.