Chemical in water purifiers harmful’


Chemical in water purifiers harmful’

CHENNAI: Most of the storage water purifiers sold in the country use a chemical usually used to sanitise swimming pools, according to consumer activist Bejon Misra. Misra, who is also founder of Healthy You Foundation, was releasing his book titled Safety issues concerning storage water purifiers’ here on Thursday.

Virtually none of the storage water purifiers in the country conform to international standards, he added. “Most of the storage purifiers use trichloroisocyanuric acid, a chemical used to sanitise swimming pools. It poses severe health hazards. Health and safety is compromised for commercial gains. A study by Healthy You Foundation had come out with evidence that leading storage water purifier manufacturers do not declare that they use the chemical to treat water. The government is yet to implement any standard for water purifiers in the country,” he said.

The book has drawn the attention of the Standard Setting Body in India, Bureau of Indian Standards and the Water Quality Association.

The rural population of India comprises more than 700 million people residing in about 1.42 million habitations spread over 15 diverse ecological regions. It is true that providing drinking water to such a large population is an enormous challenge. Our country is also characterised by non-uniformity in level of awareness, socio-economic development, education, poverty, practices and rituals which add to the complexity of providing water.
The health burden of poor water quality is enormous. It is estimated that around 37.7 million Indians are affected by waterborne diseases annually, 1.5 million children are estimated to die of diarrhoea alone and 73 million working days are lost due to waterborne disease each year. The resulting economic burden is estimated at $600 million a year. The problems of chemical contamination is also prevalent in India with 1,95,813 habitations in the country are affected by poor water quality. The major chemical parameters of concern are fluoride and arsenic. Iron is also emerging as a major problem with many habitations showing excess iron in the water samples.
The provision of clean drinking water has been given priority in the Constitution of India, with Article 47 conferring the duty of providing clean drinking water and improving public health standards to the State. The government has undertaken various programes since independence to provide safe drinking water to the rural masses. Till the 10th plan, an estimated total of Rs.1,105 billion spent on providing safe drinking water. One would argue that the expenditure is huge but it is also true that despite such expenditure lack of safe antri-Pud secure drinking water continues to be a major hurdle and a national economic burden.
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