Risk analysis of drinking water microbial contamination versus disinfection by-products (DBPs)

Toxicology
Nicholas John Ashbolt

Abstract

Managing the provision of safe drinking water has a renewed focus in light of the new World Health Organization (WHO) water safety plans. Risk analysis is a necessary component to assist in selecting priority hazards and identifying hazardous scenarios, be they qualitative to quantitative assessments. For any approach, acute diarrhoeal pathogens are often the higher risk issue for municipal water supplies, no matter how health burden is assessed. Furthermore, potential sequellae (myocarditis, diabetes, reactive arthritis and cancers) only further increase the potential health burden of pathogens; despite the enormous uncertainties in determining pathogen exposures and chemical dose-responses within respective microbial and chemical analyses. These interpretations are currently being improved by Bayesian and bootstrapping approaches to estimate parameters for stochastic assessments. A case example, covering the health benefits of ozonation for Cryptosporidium inactivation versus potential cancers from bromate exposures, illustrated the higher risks from a pathogen than one of the most likely disinfection by-products (DBPs). Such analyses help justify the industries long-held view of the benefits of multiple barriers to hazards a...Continue Reading

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