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Microbiological Evaluation of Household Drinking Water Treatment in Rural China Shows Benefits of Electric Kettles: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Cohen A, Tao Y, Luo Q, Zhong G, Romm J, Colford JM, Ray I - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: In rural China ~607 million people drink boiled water, yet little is known about prevailing household water treatment (HWT) methods or their effectiveness.Multilevel mixed-effects regression analyses showed that electric kettles were associated with the largest Log10TTC reduction (-0.60, p<0.001), followed by bottled water (-0.45, p<0.001) and pots (-0.44, p<0.01).Our results suggest that electric kettles could be used to rapidly expand safe drinking water access and reduce HAP exposure in rural China.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America; School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.

ABSTRACT

Background: In rural China ~607 million people drink boiled water, yet little is known about prevailing household water treatment (HWT) methods or their effectiveness. Boiling, the most common HWT method globally, is microbiologically effective, but household air pollution (HAP) from burning solid fuels causes cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and black carbon emissions exacerbate climate change. Boiled water is also easily re-contaminated. Our study was designed to identify the HWT methods used in rural China and to evaluate their effectiveness.

Methods: We used a geographically stratified cross-sectional design in rural Guangxi Province to collect survey data from 450 households in the summer of 2013. Household drinking water samples were collected and assayed for Thermotolerant Coliforms (TTC), and physicochemical analyses were conducted for village drinking water sources. In the winter of 2013-2104, we surveyed 120 additional households and used remote sensors to corroborate self-reported boiling data.

Findings: Our HWT prevalence estimates were: 27.1% boiling with electric kettles, 20.3% boiling with pots, 34.4% purchasing bottled water, and 18.2% drinking untreated water (for these analyses we treated bottled water as a HWT method). Households using electric kettles had the lowest concentrations of TTC (73% lower than households drinking untreated water). Multilevel mixed-effects regression analyses showed that electric kettles were associated with the largest Log10TTC reduction (-0.60, p<0.001), followed by bottled water (-0.45, p<0.001) and pots (-0.44, p<0.01). Compared to households drinking untreated water, electric kettle users also had the lowest risk of having TTC detected in their drinking water (risk ratio, RR = 0.49, 0.34-0.70, p<0.001), followed by bottled water users (RR = 0.70, 0.53-0.93, p<0.05) and households boiling with pots (RR = 0.74, 0.54-1.02, p = 0.06).

Conclusion: As far as we are aware, this is the first HWT-focused study in China, and the first to quantify the comparative advantage of boiling with electric kettles over pots. Our results suggest that electric kettles could be used to rapidly expand safe drinking water access and reduce HAP exposure in rural China.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Basic risk classification of Thermotolerant Coliforms by HWT method.Each stacked bar displays TTC concentrations divided into categories based on likely health risk, and the percentage of households in each risk category by HWT method. The WHO’s standard for the microbiological safety of water using TTC as an indicator of fecal contamination is no detectable TTC/100mL [22]. The CCDC’s risk classification also considers TTC samples that are below the detection limit as microbiologically safe [21]. At counts of 1–9 MPN/100mL, if sanitary conditions are decent, drinking water is usually low risk for most people, except young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. Data exclude 38 TTC outlier cases (outlier inclusion yielded slightly larger proportions of households in the high risk category).
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pone.0138451.g004: Basic risk classification of Thermotolerant Coliforms by HWT method.Each stacked bar displays TTC concentrations divided into categories based on likely health risk, and the percentage of households in each risk category by HWT method. The WHO’s standard for the microbiological safety of water using TTC as an indicator of fecal contamination is no detectable TTC/100mL [22]. The CCDC’s risk classification also considers TTC samples that are below the detection limit as microbiologically safe [21]. At counts of 1–9 MPN/100mL, if sanitary conditions are decent, drinking water is usually low risk for most people, except young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. Data exclude 38 TTC outlier cases (outlier inclusion yielded slightly larger proportions of households in the high risk category).

Mentions: Compared to households drinking untreated water, electric kettle users had the lowest risk of having TTC detected in their drinking water (RR = 0.49, 0.34–0.70, p<0.001), followed by bottled water users and households boiling with pots (Table 5). Although our study was not powered to detect differences in diarrhea, the pattern of risk ratios for reported diarrhea by HWT method was consistent with the TTC risk ratios (Table 5). TTC concentration risk classifications are shown across HWT methods in Fig 4.


Microbiological Evaluation of Household Drinking Water Treatment in Rural China Shows Benefits of Electric Kettles: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Cohen A, Tao Y, Luo Q, Zhong G, Romm J, Colford JM, Ray I - PLoS ONE (2015)

Basic risk classification of Thermotolerant Coliforms by HWT method.Each stacked bar displays TTC concentrations divided into categories based on likely health risk, and the percentage of households in each risk category by HWT method. The WHO’s standard for the microbiological safety of water using TTC as an indicator of fecal contamination is no detectable TTC/100mL [22]. The CCDC’s risk classification also considers TTC samples that are below the detection limit as microbiologically safe [21]. At counts of 1–9 MPN/100mL, if sanitary conditions are decent, drinking water is usually low risk for most people, except young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. Data exclude 38 TTC outlier cases (outlier inclusion yielded slightly larger proportions of households in the high risk category).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4589372&req=5

pone.0138451.g004: Basic risk classification of Thermotolerant Coliforms by HWT method.Each stacked bar displays TTC concentrations divided into categories based on likely health risk, and the percentage of households in each risk category by HWT method. The WHO’s standard for the microbiological safety of water using TTC as an indicator of fecal contamination is no detectable TTC/100mL [22]. The CCDC’s risk classification also considers TTC samples that are below the detection limit as microbiologically safe [21]. At counts of 1–9 MPN/100mL, if sanitary conditions are decent, drinking water is usually low risk for most people, except young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. Data exclude 38 TTC outlier cases (outlier inclusion yielded slightly larger proportions of households in the high risk category).
Mentions: Compared to households drinking untreated water, electric kettle users had the lowest risk of having TTC detected in their drinking water (RR = 0.49, 0.34–0.70, p<0.001), followed by bottled water users and households boiling with pots (Table 5). Although our study was not powered to detect differences in diarrhea, the pattern of risk ratios for reported diarrhea by HWT method was consistent with the TTC risk ratios (Table 5). TTC concentration risk classifications are shown across HWT methods in Fig 4.

Bottom Line: In rural China ~607 million people drink boiled water, yet little is known about prevailing household water treatment (HWT) methods or their effectiveness.Multilevel mixed-effects regression analyses showed that electric kettles were associated with the largest Log10TTC reduction (-0.60, p<0.001), followed by bottled water (-0.45, p<0.001) and pots (-0.44, p<0.01).Our results suggest that electric kettles could be used to rapidly expand safe drinking water access and reduce HAP exposure in rural China.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America; School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.

ABSTRACT

Background: In rural China ~607 million people drink boiled water, yet little is known about prevailing household water treatment (HWT) methods or their effectiveness. Boiling, the most common HWT method globally, is microbiologically effective, but household air pollution (HAP) from burning solid fuels causes cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and black carbon emissions exacerbate climate change. Boiled water is also easily re-contaminated. Our study was designed to identify the HWT methods used in rural China and to evaluate their effectiveness.

Methods: We used a geographically stratified cross-sectional design in rural Guangxi Province to collect survey data from 450 households in the summer of 2013. Household drinking water samples were collected and assayed for Thermotolerant Coliforms (TTC), and physicochemical analyses were conducted for village drinking water sources. In the winter of 2013-2104, we surveyed 120 additional households and used remote sensors to corroborate self-reported boiling data.

Findings: Our HWT prevalence estimates were: 27.1% boiling with electric kettles, 20.3% boiling with pots, 34.4% purchasing bottled water, and 18.2% drinking untreated water (for these analyses we treated bottled water as a HWT method). Households using electric kettles had the lowest concentrations of TTC (73% lower than households drinking untreated water). Multilevel mixed-effects regression analyses showed that electric kettles were associated with the largest Log10TTC reduction (-0.60, p<0.001), followed by bottled water (-0.45, p<0.001) and pots (-0.44, p<0.01). Compared to households drinking untreated water, electric kettle users also had the lowest risk of having TTC detected in their drinking water (risk ratio, RR = 0.49, 0.34-0.70, p<0.001), followed by bottled water users (RR = 0.70, 0.53-0.93, p<0.05) and households boiling with pots (RR = 0.74, 0.54-1.02, p = 0.06).

Conclusion: As far as we are aware, this is the first HWT-focused study in China, and the first to quantify the comparative advantage of boiling with electric kettles over pots. Our results suggest that electric kettles could be used to rapidly expand safe drinking water access and reduce HAP exposure in rural China.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus