Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – May 25, 2001

In the News…
Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

May 25, 2001

WHO Announces New Effort to Combat Tuberculosis

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a plan to combat tuberculosis, one of the world’s top three infectious diseases (along with malaria and AIDS), at its annual meeting in Geneva last week. Approximately two billion people worldwide are infected with tuberculosis. The WHO estimates that the disease could be brought under control within five years if nations would commit an additional $400 million per year to treatment and prevention efforts. Such efforts would halve the number of deaths from the disease by the end of the decade, WHO officials stated. The plan targets the 22 hardest-hit countries, including Russia, South Africa, India, Brazil, and China.

To find out about this and other significant developments at the World Health Assembly, visit http://www.who.int/wha-1998/EB_WHA/english/newANG_navigat.htm

Consumer Confidence Reports Due July 1st

The EPA’s Office of Regulatory Enforcement issued an enforcement alert notifying community water systems to submit annual Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) by July 1, 2001. Pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA requires water systems to submit CCRs on an annual basis to educate customers about “the quality of their drinking water and opportunities to participate in its protection.” In 1999 and 2000, the first two years in which CCRs were required, the EPA reported that approximately 92 percent of the nation’s 54,000 water systems met the deadline for compliance.

For more information, visit http://es.epa.gov/oeca/ore/ccr.pdf ( PDF)

California Legislation Seeks to Tighten Bottled Water Regulations

Earlier this month, World Wildlife Fund International launched a campaign “urging people to drink tap water… for the benefit of the environment and their wallets.” (see In The News… May 11, 2001). Concern over whether bottled water is mislabeled or that it adheres to the same purity standards as tap water has reached California’s state government. Proposed legislation AB 791 requires bottlers to prove that their water is indeed “spring water.” To be deemed pure, bottlers must pay an inspection fee to the state under the proposed bill.

For more information on this legislation, visit http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/asm/ab_0751-0800/ab_791_bill_20010502_amended_asm.html

$139 Billion Needed for US Water Systems

On May 18th, in accordance with the results from the 1999 Drinking Water Infrastructure Survey, the EPA released a revised allocation for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (monies made available to drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements). In its revised allocation, which will affect appropriations for fiscal years 2002 through 2005, the EPA determined that states would require $139 billion over the next twenty years to ensure the availability of safe drinking water. The EPA further determined that 22 states each need only one percent of the total budget to maintain safe water systems, while California requires as much as 10.24 percent of the total.

For full state-by-state listing, visit http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2001/May/Day-18/w12579.htm

Senate Bill Would Fund $30 Million for Breast Cancer Research

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), ranking member on the Environment & Public Works Committee, and Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) together introduced a bill to authorize $30 million to study the environmental causes of breast cancer. The bill would charge the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to make grants to research the environmental factors that might precipitate breast cancer. The bill is awaiting consideration by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. However, according to Inside EPA, the legislation may be attached to another bill for consideration by the full Senate. H.R. 1723, a companion bill introduced by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Sue Myrick (D-NC), is being considered in the House of Representatives.

To track the progress of these bills, visit http://thomas.loc.gov

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:http://www.waterandhealth.org/contact/index.html

In The News… is a bi-weekly, online service from the Water Quality & Health Council. The publication is updated every other Friday and can be viewed by logging onto www.waterandhealth.org. To receive the publication via e-mail, please click here and enter your e-mail address to join our mailing list.

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