Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Towards Health Impact Assessment of Drinking-Water Privatization-The Example of Waterborne Carcinogens in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany). (Policy and Practice)

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Towards Health Impact Assessment of Drinking-Water Privatization-The Example of Waterborne Carcinogens in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany). (Policy and Practice)

Article excerpt

Abstract Worldwide there is a tendency towards deregulation in many policy sectors--this, for example, includes liberalization and privatization of drinking-water management. However, concerns about the negative impacts this might have on human health call for prospective health impact assessment (HIA) on the management of drinking-water. On the basis of an established generic 10-step HIA procedure and on risk assessment methodology, this paper aims to produce quantitative estimates concerning health effects from increased exposure to carcinogens in drinking-water. Using data from North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, probabilistic estimates of excess lifetime cancer risk, as well as estimates of additional cases of cancer from increased carcinogen exposure levels are presented. The results show how exposure to contaminants that are strictly within current limits could increase cancer risks and case-loads substantially. On the basis of the current analysis, we suggest that with uniform increases in pollutant levels, a single chemical (arsenic) is responsible for a large fraction of expected additional risk. The study also illustrates the uncertainty involved in predicting the health impacts of changes in water quality. Future analysis should include additional carcinogens, non-cancer risks including those due to microbial contamination, and the impacts of system failures and of illegal action, which may be increasingly likely to occur under changed management arrangements. If, in spite of concerns, water is privatized, it is particularly important to provide adequate surveillance of water quality.

Keywords Potable water/supply and distribution; Water supply; Privatization; Environmental health; Environmental monitoring/methods; Risk assessment; Carcinogens, Environmental; Water pollutants, Chemical/toxicity; Arsenic/toxicity; Germany (source: MeSH, NLM).

Mots cles Eau potable/ressources et distribution; Alimentation eau; Privatisation; Hygiene environnement; Surveillance environnement/methodes; Evaluation risque; Cancerogenes, Environnement; Polluants chimiques eau/toxicite; Arsenic/toxicite; Allemagne (source: MeSH, INSERM).

Palabras clave Agua potable/provision y distribucion; Abastecimiento de agua; Privatizacion; Salud ambiental; Monitoreo del ambiente/metodos; Medicion de riesgo; Carcinogenos ambientales; Contaminantes quimicos del agua/toxicidad; Arsenico/toxicidad; Alemania (fuente: DeCS, BIREME).

Voir page 413 le resume en francais. En la pagina 413 figura un resumen en espanol.

Resume

Vers une evaluation de l'impact sanitaire de la privatisation de l'eau de boisson--l'exemple des substances cancerogenes vehiculees par reau dans l'Etat de Nord-Rhin-Westphalie (Allemagne)

On observe actuellement dans le monde entier une tendance a la dereglementation dans de nombreux secteurs relevant de la competence des pouvoirs publics--cela comprend, par exemple, la liberalisation et la privatisation de la gestion de l'eau de boisson. Toutefois, les preoccupations qui se font jour concernant les effets negatifs que cette evolution risque d'avoir sur la sante humaine justifient de realiser des analyses prospectives concernant l'impact sanitaire de la gestion de l'eau de boisson. En s'appuyant sur une procedure d'analyse incrementale classique en dix etapes fondees sur des augmentations progressives des concentrations de polluants et sur une methode d'evaluation des risques, le present article vise a fournir des estimations quantitatives des effets sur la sante resultant d'une exposition accrue a des substances cancerogenes contenues dans l'eau de boisson. A partir de donnees recueillies pour l'Etat de Nord-Rhin-Westphalie en Allemagne, des estimations de probabilite sont presentees concernant l'accroissement du risque de cancer pendant la duree de vie et le nombre additionnel de cas de cancer qui pourrait decouler de l'exposition a des niveaux accrus de substances cancerogenes. …

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