kearns - Self-reliance in water treatment: Providing safe...

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Self-reliance in water treatment: Providing safe drinking water to communities using charcoal filtration to remove pesticides Judith Flanagan, University of New South Wales, Australia Joshua Kearns, AqueousSolutions, Oakland, California, USA and Chiang Mai province, Thailand, Theme: Clean DrinkingWater Research Domain: Health ABSTRACT Pesticide contamination of drinking water is a significant problem in developing countries where due to inadequate regulations over 70% of agrichemicals used intensively are banned or heavily restricted in the West. Pun Pun organic farming community in northern Thailand is committed to practicing a variety of sustainable and self-reliant living techniques. A reservoir nearby is contaminated by agricultural (including pesticide) runoff from surrounding farms. We are developing a simple, robust and inexpensive technology to purify water thus providing the Pun Pun community with a stable, year-round source of safe drinking water using locally sourced labor and materials. INTRODUCTION The environmental and human health consequences of widespread application of large quantities of hazardous agrichemicals are a mounting concern around the globe. In the United States, for example, a recent study by the Center for Disease Control detected pesticides and their breakdown products in 100% of test subjects. The highest concentrations of many agrichemicals were detected in women of childbearing age, children and Mexican Americans (1). The situation in the developing world is even worse, where agrichemical corporations find markets for many of their products deemed too hazardous to human health and the environment for sale in Western countries. For example, each year the US produces hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides considered too dangerous for domestic use. Meanwhile, over 70 percent of the pesticides used in Thailand and India are banned or severely restricted in the West (2). A survey by the Thai National Environment Board found residues in 86 percent of water samples (3). Furthermore, in the Indian state of Punjab DDT and BHC – agrichemicals banned in the west – have been widely detected human breast milk (4). A survey of the agrichemical products in common usage around the Pun Pun community in northern Thailand revealed that, out of 34 substances, 19 exhibit moderate to highly acute toxicity to humans, 8 are possible human carcinogens and 5 are known human carcinogens, 9 are cholinesterase inhibitors (indicating neurotoxicity), 10 are suspected endocrine disruptors, 6 are reproductive or developmental toxins, 21 are classified as “Bad Actors” by the Pesticide Action Network * , and 13 represent significant threats to groundwater contamination. * According to the Pesticide Action Network, “Bad Actors” are chemicals that exhibit one or more of the following
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course UNIV 2201 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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kearns - Self-reliance in water treatment: Providing safe...

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