Water and Health
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Health is truly the bottom line for the water supply. Customers want and need to know the safety of the water they use every day.
Answers to most of the questions you might have about your water: testing, detected contaminants, information about lead and watershed protection can be found in MWRA's Annual Water Quality Report. For more information about water quality, read MWRA's Monthly Water Quality Update, which provides more in-depth, technical data.
SPECIAL HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS:
Important Information for People with Weakened Immune Systems
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants or dialysis, and people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders can be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
> More information
Important information about Cryptosporidium and Giardia
Many people have heard about the parasites Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and have questions about what they are and if they are found in the MWRA water supply. They are found infrequently and at very low levels.
WORKING WITH THE PUBLIC HEALTH CARE COMMUNITY
Resources for Health Care Providers
http://www.waterhealthconnection.com - This is an important web-based source for health care providers with information on drinking water and health issues has been developed by the American Water Works Associaion and the Arnot Ogden Medical Center. This site is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This site is designed to help health care providers get easy access to information on water issues for their patients. It provides excellent, concise material drawn from peer-reviewed journals, including:
- Information about how to diagnose and treat waterbourne disease with a higher level of accuracy.
- Educational tools for treatment and prevention options.
- Seamless integrated material in a central location.
Special Initiatives with the Public Health Community
As part of its Water Supply Improvement Program, MWRA has partnered with public health professionals on a series of projects. All of these projects are tied to MWRA's overall program to improve and protect drinking water through cost-effective efforts that are directly related to public health benefits, such as:
Coordination with public health officials and water superintendents - MWRA maintains close working relationships with state and local public health and water officials through an advisory committee and a monthly water quality report. MWRA promotes interaction between health and water departments in all communities.
Cooperative research and surveillance projects - MWRA continues to enhance extensive water quality testing programs and works with state and City of Boston public health agencies to track health outcomes inside and outside the MWRA system and to implement an early-warning system of possible trouble.
Annual water quality report - to help answer customers' questions about their drinking water, MWRA issues an annual water quality report (also known as "consumer confidence report") each June/July.
Lead exposure education efforts - while water is lead-free coming from the reservoir, MWRA has made efforts to make chemistry changes to reduce leaching of lead from homes' lead pipes. MWRA also has a public education campaign to educate homeowners how to reduce lead exposure from drinking water.
Public Health Advisory Group - experts and practitioners assist MWRA in determining the most cost-effective manner of providing the highest level of public health benefits.
For more information, please contact:
Joshua Das, MWRA Public Health Project Manager
December 30, 2008