Arctic Blue Waters-Drinking Water
“Over large parts of the world, humans have inadequate access to potable water and use sources contaminated with disease vectors, pathogens or unacceptable levels of toxins or suspended solids. Drinking or using such water in food preparation leads to widespread acute and chronic illnesses and is a major cause of death and misery in many countries.
Water has always been an important and life-sustaining drink to humans and is essential to the survival of most other organisms. Excluding fat, water composes approximately 70% of the human body by mass. It is a crucial component of metabolic processes and serves as solvent for many bodily solutes.
Water Quality and Contaminants
Parameters for drinking water quality typically fall under three categories:
Physical and chemical parameters include heavy metals, trace organic compounds, total suspended solids (TSS) and turbidity.
Microbiological parameters tend to pose more of a chronic health risk through buildup of heavy metals although some components like nitrates/nitrites and arsenic can have a more immediate impact. Physical parameters affect the aesthetics and taste of drinking water and may complicate the removal of microbial pathogens.
Originally, fecal contamination was determined with the presence of coliform bacteria, a convenient marker for a class of harmful fecal pathogens. The presence of fecal coli forms (like E.Coli) serves as an indication of contamination by sewage. Additional contaminants include protozoan oocysts such as Cryptosporidium sp., Giardia lamblia, Legionella, and viruses (enteric). Microbial pathogenic parameters are typically of greatest concern because of their immediate health risk.
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