Water Quality and Water-Related Disease

Patricia L. Meinhardt

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Water Quality and Water-Related Disease


Contamination of water reserves by biological, chemical, and radiologic agents affects the health of millions of individuals across the globe each year. Understanding water quality and the impact of pollution on water resources is vital to worldwide public health because access to potable water and modernized sanitation increases the lifespan and improves the health of world citizens more than any other advancement in the field of medicine. The global public health impact of water contamination is major for many reasons: (1) safe drinking water is vital for human survival to prevent dehydration; (2) water is essential for basic hygiene and modern sanitation methods including wastewater treatment; (3) water use is key to every sector of an industrialized, transitional, and developing economy as an essential component for the production of many goods and services; and (4) uncontaminated water is crucial to food production and livestock health. According to the United Nations, 1.1 billion people, or 17 percent of the global population, lack access to improved water sources (an improved water source is one that is likely to provide safe water). Approximately 10 percent of the world’s total disease burden is attributable to unsafe drinking water and lack of appropriate sanitation, resulting in millions of preventable deaths each year. Contamination of water can lead to devastating medical, public health, and economic consequences for an affected community. Contaminated water is an “equal opportunity” public health crisis as water pollution is a growing problem for developing nations, transitional economies, and developed countries. The topic of water quality and water-related disease is complex and diverse in nature. The following summaries are presented as a starting point for rigorous study and are intended to act as definitive peer-reviewed and authoritative references for addressing the subject areas of water quality and water-related disease.

Article.  6424 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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