Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – May 11, 2001

In the News…
Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

May 11, 2001

Johns Hopkins University to Establish Malaria Institute

An anonymous donor has pledged $100 million to the Johns Hopkins University for a 10-year effort to rid the world of malaria by developing a new vaccine and drugs. The gift allows the university to establish the Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute. The multidisciplinary center will combine traditional approaches with new weapons such as genomics and bioinformatics to take aim at a disease that kills an estimated one million to two million people a year and leaves hundreds of millions of others sick and destitute. Johns Hopkins officials point to World Health Organization statistics demonstrating that anti-malaria drugs are losing effectiveness as resistant strains develop around the world. The officials note that research to date has been underfunded because malaria is a relatively small problem in the developed world.

For more information, visit

WWF International Favors Tap Water Over Bottled Water

On May 3rd, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International launched a campaign “urging people to drink tap water… for the benefit of the environment and their wallets.” According to a study commissioned by the WWF, tap water is preferred because it is more stringently regulated to ensure quality, creates less waste, and is far less expensive than bottled water. The group notes, “There are more standards regulating tap water in Europe and the United States than those applied to the bottled water industry.” In response to this campaign, the International Bottled Water Association argues, “The US Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water… with standards that must, by law, be at least as protective of public health – and in some cases – more stringent than the Environmental Protection Agency regulations for tap [water].”

For more information, visit the WWF web site at or the International Bottled Water Association at

New Technology Seeks to Improve Drinking Water in Developing Nations

Epidemiologists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the findings of a study demonstrating that a recently developed water purification system might prompt more people in developing nations to purify their drinking water, and consequently, reduce the incidence of waterborne disease. The technology, developed by the Proctor & Gamble Company (P&G), consists of a small packet of chlorine powder mixed with a flocculant, an agent that separates contaminants from the water. The treated water is then poured through a filtering cloth into a storage container. The water contains a chlorine residual to ensure its purity. P&G is working with the CDC to conduct further research on the new system. The company intends to open a learning market in a developing nation in the near future.

For more information on this product, visit the Proctor & Gamble web site at

EPA Estimates $150 Billion Needed for Drinking Water Infrastructure

In order to maintain the U.S. drinking water infrastructure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that drinking water systems will need to spend approximately $151 billion over the next 20 years. The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) said this figure was inaccurate. It asserts that the EPA data only accounts for one-third of the total infrastructure costs for the country’s 55,000 water suppliers. The Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) – a coalition of drinking water and wastewater utilities and other stakeholders – also takes issue with the EPA figure. WIN estimates that the nation’s drinking water infrastructure will require $460 billion for the 20-year period.

For more information, visit or

Arsenic Update

The National Academy of Sciences announced that it will convene a panel on May 21st to examine health risks associated with arsenic in drinking water. The panel’s findings will assist the U.S. EPA in its efforts to put in place a reduced standard for arsenic levels in drinking water. The NAS panel expects to take four months to prepare a report examining arsenic health risks. The EPA is expected to finalize the rule by February 22, 2002.

For more information, visit

Special Note: Food Safety Posters to Be Made Available For Use in Chinese Restaurants

In 1998, the Water Quality & Health Council, in conjunction with the Chlorine Chemistry Council and the National Restaurant Association, produced a clear, colorful poster in both English and Spanish offering food surface sanitizing tips to restaurants and other food service establishments. Entitled “Good Food Starts With A Clean Kitchen,” the poster was distributed to public health officials and restaurants around the nation. Based on popular demand, we are in the process of printing the same, free poster in both Mandarin and Cantonese (the main Chinese dialects spoken in the United States) for distribution to Chinese restaurants in your communities. The poster will be available in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in receiving the poster, please send us a message through the following link:

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