Water Pollution

Water Pollution

A Small Dose of Water Pollution

  • An Introduction to the Health Effects of Water Pollution (1st edition - July 2016)

Water Pollution Dossier


  • Name: Water Pollutants
  • Definition of water pollution: contamination of indoor or outdoor water by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the water, reducing its beneficial usability for people and/or ecosystems
  • Use: avoid use of polluted water but drink plenty of clean water
  • Recommended daily intake: none (but water is essential)
  • Absorption: Skin and gastrointestinal system
  • Sensitive individuals: fetus and children, elderly, people with chronic health problems
  • Toxicity/symptoms: depends upon pollutant / contamination
  • Regulatory facts: in the US the EPA sets some standards for water pollutants
  • General facts: caused by emissions of billions of pounds of chemicals and particulate matter every year from a wide range of products and industries, combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline, and bacterial contamination
  • Environmental effects: widely distributed in environment, affects wildlife and ecological health, and human health
  • Recommendations: minimize water pollution on a global scale, avoid exposure by children and other sensitive groups, expand research on toxicity and alternative sources of energy, adopt precautionary approach, reduce the use of fossil fuels, support international treaties 



Water Pollution Chapter

PowerPoint Presentation

  • A Small Dose of Water Pollution - PowerPoint presentation (coming soon)

More Information and References

European, Asian, and International Agencies

“Globally, an estimated 1.9 billion people rely on water supplies that are contaminated with feces. This requires many to use household water treatment (HWT) technologies to help prevent disease and make water safe for drinking.”

Primarily addresses bacterial contamination of water and sanitation and the need for clean water.

Covers a broad range of chemicals that can affect drinking-water quality.

  • European Environment Agency: Water. (accessed: March 4, 2016)

The EEA coordinates assessments and regulation of water across Europe.


North American Agencies

Connecting Middle School Students to Environmental Health Information on water pollution.  

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Healthy Water. (accessed: March 4, 2016)


Non-Government Organizations

  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Water Pollution. (accessed: February 28, 2016).

The NRDC was founded in 1970 to protect our air, land, and water from the forces of pollution and corporate greed.

  • Wikipedia: Water. (accessed: March 4, 2016).



An excellent review of how the lead in the water of Flint, MI was discovered and the response.

  • Irina Guseva Canu, Olivier Laurent, Nathalie Pires, Dominique Laurier, and Isabelle Dublineau. “Health Effects of Naturally Radioactive Water Ingestion: The Need for Enhanced Studies.”. Environ Health Perspect 119:1676–1680 (2011).

A summary of fluoride use, regulation, health effects, and controversy.


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