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Micro-organisms in water: a health risk

Micro-organismen in water: een gezondheidsrisico


Several scientific developments in the past decennium have shown that the current basis for legislatory standards for the microbial quality of drinking and recreational water are insufficient to protect the health of the consumer/bather. This basis has been empirical and uses undicator organisms for faecal pollution, an indirect measure for health risk. This report describes the development of a quantitative method for the analysis of microbiological health risks based upon dose-effects experiments with human volunteers and pathogenic micro-organisms. This method is used by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a basis for legislation. This report gives a first analysis of the applicability of this approach in the Dutch setting. A quantitative description of the risk of pathogenic micro-organisms in drinking and recreational water makes it possible to fit the micro-organisms in the Dutch risk policy.It also allows the (control of) microbial risks to be balanced against (the creation of) other risks, i.e. the formation of disinfection by-products. This method also gives, if an acceptable infection risk level is defined, a quantitative basis for designing treatment processes. This report also defines research needs for the effective implementation of quantitative risk analysis in this field in the Netherlands.

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