Will you Have Enough Safe Water for Personal Hygiene in Case of an Emergency?
Bruce K. Bernard, PhD

Nothing beats the comfort of a hot bath or shower after you’ve been drenched by rain or pelted by snow and ice. But when a weather or natural disaster emergency prevents your access to safe running water, life as you know it can change in an instant. If your source of water is a private well, a power failure could disable the pump that delivers water to your tap. Being on “city water” does not protect you from this type of emergency; local authorities could issue a warning not to drink or bathe with municipal tap water. ... READ MORE >> READ MORE >>

Drinking Water Safety and the Alaska Native People
Fred Reiff, PE

Today almost all Alaska Native villages have treated drinking water supplies available for the residents by means of piped distribution systems and/or watering points from which the treated water can be hauled to the homes not connected to the distribution systems.  Many of these facilities were installed by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1960 and 1987.  The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation also began construction of water treatment and distribution facilities in the mid 1970s.  Various Alaska Native organizations and entities are currently responsible for their operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, improvement and expansion. The treatment processes that are utilized vary greatly because the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the water sources are divergent and frequently unique.  Some, such as in Barrow, Alaska, are state of the art.

Contrary to common belief, the raw water in Alaska often contains pathogens or substances that can be harmful to human health.   … READ MORE >>

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Wisconsin “Healthography” Study Yields Surprising Insight into Childhood Gastrointestinal Illness
Steve Hubbs, PE

“Healthography:  How Where You Live Determines Your Health and Well-being” was the theme of last week’s American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans.  “Healthography” is a new term for many, but its meaning can be demonstrated by an emerging drinking water issue in Wisconsin:  Children who live in areas that do not treat municipal well water may be more at risk for gastrointestinal (GI) illness than children who live in areas in which municipal drinking water is treated.

The issue was raised in a recent study of GI illness rates among young children in central and northern Wisconsin. The researchers found that children in regions served by untreated municipal water systems have a 40 percent increased risk of GI illness after one inch of rainfall in the previous week.  Furthermore, the research shows the more it rains, the greater the number of GI illness cases among Wisconsin children … READ MORE >>

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Thanksgiving Stress: What Rates High on Your Meter?
By the Water Quality & Health Council

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is meant to be a delightful day centered on family, friends, and food. Traditions play a big role on this day, whether it is a brisk pre-dinner hike, watching football on TV, or giving everyone at the table a chance to express what he or she has been most grateful for this year.

Thanksgiving is not necessarily a stress-free holiday, however:  Cooks feel pressure to produce a special feast; travelers are forced to deal with transportation and traffic delays; and increasingly, advertisers tempt us to shorten our Thanksgiving celebration and start our holiday shopping on Thanksgiving or in the wee hours of “Black Friday.”  A survey we conducted a few years ago found more than one-third of Americans polled were concerned about “being around an annoying relative” on Turkey Day.  In fact, more folks were concerned about sitting next to crazy Uncle Joe (37%) than they were about getting … READ MORE >>

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Foregoing Childhood Immunizations: Fear and Consequences
Fred Reiff, P.E.

Childhood immunizations protect against a wide variety of diseases, including diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, rubella, varicella (chicken pox) and smallpox. Yet, some parents reject these immunizations as unsafe, citing a fear of potential adverse health effects such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Others express hope that their unvaccinated children will be protected from diseases as a result of the widespread immunity of their peers. The reality is that foregoing childhood immunizations is a dangerous practice that threatens the historic gains of modern disease control efforts. ... READ MORE >> READ MORE >>

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