The overall aim is to investigate potential human health risks associated with long-term exposure to low levels of disinfectants (such as chlorine) and disinfectant by-products (DBPs) occurring in water for human consumption and use in the food industry. The study will comprise risk/benefit analyses including quantitative assessments of risk associated with microbial contamination of drinking water versus chemical risk and will compare alternative treatment options. The outcome will be improved risk assessment and management. The study will make use of existing studies/databases and newly collected information.
Specific objectives are: <UL> <LI>
To determine the DBP composition and levels in drinking water in various regions in Europe
To identify the determinants of DBPs and develop predictive models
To assess the risk of small for gestational age, premature birth, semen quality, stillbirth and congenital anomalies in relation to disinfection practices and levels of DBPs, including any gene-environment interactions where possible
To assessment the risk of cancer, particularly bladder cancer and colon cancer, in relation to DBP levels, including any gene-environment interactions
Conduct risk/benefit analyses including quantitative assessments of risk associated with microbial contamination of drinking water versus chemical risk, compare alternative treatment options, and produce burden of disease estimates (e.g. DALYs)
To review the water and health policies in Europe, USA and worldwide in relation to water disinfection.
To assess the policy implications of current disinfection practices
Water samples will be collected and analysed for a range of DBPs to give a wider picture on their levels and determinants. Epidemiological studies will be conducted or existing studies used to examine the relationship between DBPs and various outcomes to provide risk estimates for the risk/benefit analysis.
For more information about this project, please visit the <a
target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.