Effects of Sachet Water Consumption on Exposure to Microbe-Contaminated Drinking Water: Household Survey Evidence from Ghana.
ABSTRACT: There remain few nationally representative studies of drinking water quality at the point of consumption in developing countries. This study aimed to examine factors associated with E. coli contamination in Ghana. It drew on a nationally representative household survey, the 2012-2013 Living Standards Survey 6, which incorporated a novel water quality module. E. coli contamination in 3096 point-of-consumption samples was examined using multinomial regression. Surface water use was the strongest risk factor for high E. coli contamination (relative risk ratio (RRR) = 32.3, p < 0.001), whilst packaged (sachet or bottled) water use had the greatest protective effect (RRR = 0.06, p < 0.001), compared to water piped to premises. E. coli contamination followed plausible patterns with digit preference (tendency to report values ending in zero) in bacteria counts. The analysis suggests packaged drinking water use provides some protection against point-of-consumption E. coli contamination and may therefore benefit public health. It also suggests viable water quality data can be collected alongside household surveys, but field protocols require further revision.
Project description:Packaged drinking water (PW) sold in bottles and plastic bags/sachets is widely consumed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and many urban users in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) rely on packaged sachet water (PSW) as their primary source of water for consumption. However, few rigorous studies have investigated PSW quality in SSA, and none have compared PSW to stored household water for consumption (HWC). A clearer understanding of PSW quality in the context of alternative sources is needed to inform policy and regulation. As elsewhere in SSA, PSW is widely consumed in Sierra Leone, but government oversight is nearly nonexistent. This study examined the microbiological and chemical quality of a representative sample of PSW products in Freetown, Sierra Leone at packaged water manufacturing facilities (PWMFs) and at points of sale (POSs). Samples of HWC were also analyzed for comparison. The study did not find evidence of serious chemical contamination among the parameters studied. However, 19% of 45 PSW products sampled at the PWMF contained detectable Escherichia coli (EC), although only two samples exceeded 10 CFU/100 mL. Concentrations of total coliforms (TC) in PSW (but not EC) increased along the supply chain. Samples of HWC from 60 households in Freetown were significantly more likely to contain EC and TC than PSW at the point of production (p<0.01), and had significantly higher concentrations of both bacterial indicators (p<0.01). These results highlight the need for additional PSW regulation and surveillance, while demonstrating the need to prioritize the safety of HWC. At present, PSW may be the least unsafe option for many households.
Project description:Packaged water, particularly bagged sachet water, has become an important drinking water source in West Africa as local governments struggle to provide safe drinking water supplies. In Ghana, sachet water has become an important primary water source in urban centers, and a growing literature has explored various dimensions of this industry, including product quality. There is very little data on sachet water quality outside of large urban centers, where smaller markets often mean less producer competition and less government regulation. This study analyzes the microbiological quality of sachet water alongside samples of other common water sources at point-of-collection (POC) and point-of-use (POU) in 42 rural, peri-urban, and small-town Ghanaian communities using the IDEXX Colilert<sup>®</sup> 18 (Westbrook, ME). Levels of coliform bacteria and <i>Escherichia coli</i> detected in sachet water samples were statistically and significantly lower than levels detected in all other water sources at POU, including public taps and standpipes, and statistically similar or significantly lower at POC. In diverse waterscapes where households regularly patch together their water supply from different sources, sachet water appears to be an evolving alternative for safe drinking water despite many caveats, including higher unit costs and limited opportunities to recycle the plastic packaging.
Project description:Background:Five hundred milliliter bags of water, referred to as 'sachet water,' are widely used in Liberia, as they are low cost, safe sources of clean drinking water for the population. Objectives:This study aims to determine sources of drinking water in the study area, the rate of sachet water use, empty sachet water disposal methods and environmental problems associated with sachet water waste disposal. Methods:Using a simple random sampling technique, 257 respondents were interviewed between April and June 2018 using structured questionnaires. On a five-point Likert scale with a mean score of 3 as the cutoff point, data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results:The paper found that sachet water (mean (M)=4.37) is an essential source of drinking water in Liberia with a daily consumption rate of at least 6 bags of sachet water per individual. Affordability, availability, and safety were named by respondents as reasons for their consumption of sachet water. Improper disposal methods practiced by the residents of Liberia included ground littering (M=3.42) and burning (M=3.03). Conclusions:Sachet water consumption has contributed to environmental issues such as drainage system clogs, littering of the environment, the death of terrestrial and aquatic animals due to plastic waste consumption, reduction of oxygen for aquatic life and soil infertility. We recommend the creation of policies and enforcement of sachet water production to include reuse and recycling of sachet water by-products as a requirement for licensing of producers, provision of adequate waste bins and the use of public education campaigns to educate residents on environmental best practices. Ethics Approval:This study was approved by the Institute for Population Studies, University of Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia. Informed Consent:Obtained. Competing Interests:The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>To estimate exposure to faecal contamination through drinking water as indicated by levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) or thermotolerant coliform (TTC) in water sources.<h4>Methods</h4>We estimated coverage of different types of drinking water source based on household surveys and censuses using multilevel modelling. Coverage data were combined with water quality studies that assessed E. coli or TTC including those identified by a systematic review (n = 345). Predictive models for the presence and level of contamination of drinking water sources were developed using random effects logistic regression and selected covariates. We assessed sensitivity of estimated exposure to study quality, indicator bacteria and separately considered nationally randomised surveys.<h4>Results</h4>We estimate that 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water which suffers from faecal contamination, of these 1.1 billion drink water that is of at least 'moderate' risk (>10 E. coli or TTC per 100 ml). Data from nationally randomised studies suggest that 10% of improved sources may be 'high' risk, containing at least 100 E. coli or TTC per 100 ml. Drinking water is found to be more often contaminated in rural areas (41%, CI: 31%-51%) than in urban areas (12%, CI: 8-18%), and contamination is most prevalent in Africa (53%, CI: 42%-63%) and South-East Asia (35%, CI: 24%-45%). Estimates were not sensitive to the exclusion of low quality studies or restriction to studies reporting E. coli.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Microbial contamination is widespread and affects all water source types, including piped supplies. Global burden of disease estimates may have substantially understated the disease burden associated with inadequate water services.
Project description:Background: Sachet water, popularly known as "pure water" has become an invaluable entity in most Ghanaian households. Despite its importance, there is no extensive nationwide investigations on its wholesomeness for consumption. The aim of this study was to determine the microbiological quality of 41 brands of sachet water sampled in 16 districts across 5 regions in Ghana. Methods: The samples were analyzed for the presence of total and fecal coliform ( Escherichia coli) using the Colilert*- 18 Test Kit. Results: Majority of the samples (56.09%) were excellent, 4.87% satisfactory and 14.63% suspicious. Ten samples (24.4%) were unsatisfactory. For the degree of fecal contamination, (85.56%) were satisfactory, four (9.76%) were suspicious, and two others (4.88%) were unsatisfactory. The contaminations observed could be attributed to poor sanitary conditions (during and/or after production) and failure of some production facilities to adhere to standard manufacturing practices. Conclusion: Our data suggest that microbiological quality sachet water from some sources have not yet attained levels that make it absolutely pure and wholesome for consumption in many areas.
Project description:The data described in this article were obtained in a study to assess the bacteriological and physicochemical properties of packaged sachet water sold for public consumption. Sixty sachet water samples from 3 different brands (A, B and C) produced and consumed in Ota, Ogun State was collected. Stratified sampling method was used. Samples were subjected to microbiological analysis using pour plate method and colony counter to count the organisms. The packaged water samples were assessed for the total coliform count, total plate count and count on Salmonella- Shigella agar. Physicochemical parameters were also assayed for and reported here. The analysis of the data presented here can be helpful in improving public health and creating awareness of the risk of consumption of satchel water.
Project description:We compared dry and rainy season water sources and their quality in the urban region of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Representative sampling indicated that municipal water supplies represent < 1% of the water sources. Residents rely on privately constructed and maintained boreholes that are supplemented by commercially packaged bottled and sachet drinking water. Contamination by thermotolerant coliforms increased from 21% of drinking water sources in the dry season to 42% of drinking water sources in the rainy season (N = 356 and N = 397). The most significant increase was in sachet water, which showed the lowest frequencies of contamination in the dry season compared with other sources (15%, N = 186) but the highest frequencies during the rainy season (59%, N = 76). Only half as many respondents reported drinking sachet water in the rainy season as in the dry season. Respondents primarily used flush or pour-flush toilets connected to septic tanks (85%, N = 399). The remainder relied on pit latrines and hanging (pier) latrines that drained into surface waters. We found significant associations between fecal contamination in boreholes and the nearby presence of hanging latrines. Sanitary surveys of boreholes showed that more than half were well-constructed, and we did not identify associations between structural or site deficiencies and microbial water quality. The deterioration of drinking water quality during the rainy season is a serious public health risk for both untreated groundwater and commercially packaged water, highlighting a need to address gaps in monitoring and quality control.
Project description:The increased mortality rate among the Acoli people of northern Uganda is anecdotally blamed on excessive consumption of cheap and widely available sachet-packaged alcohol in the region. In this paper, we quantify this perceived association by determining statistically the health risks associated with ingesting 20 heavy metals in 17 popular spirits products consumed in Acoli. Thirteen of these products were industrially packaged in sachets (locally known as 'sachet,' waragi, arege or moo lyec) and four were locally produced Lira-Lira spirits from Bolo, Awere and Teso Bar in the region and Nsambya in southern Uganda. A Scottish whisky purchased in San Diego (USA) was our reference. Risk assessment was performed according to standardized protocols developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Our results show that a strong correlation indeed exists between health risks and ingestion of spirits in Acoli. At >2.5 sachets/day for 240 day/year over a lifetime for example, the risk of developing cancer due to exposure to As, Pb and Cr alone is 1 in 102,041. This estimate excludes ethanol, a known carcinogen, and 17 heavy metals also studied due to lack of their cancer slope factors. The primary non-cancer related health risk factor in all samples tested is ethanol with unacceptably high health index of four. The Lira-Lira spirits, with 100-6000% copper above the US EPA limit for intake by oral ingestion in water, would be the 'cleanest' without copper and at par with the Scottish whisky. Collectively, we find that no amount of alcohol consumed in Acoli is safe. Preventive measures are therefore recommended to reduce mortality in Acoli in particular, and in Uganda in general. These measures should include public education, better public policies, creating productive economic activities other than brewing alcohol, and social activities that engage people away from drinking.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Emerging evidence suggests close domestic proximity of livestock and humans may lead to microbiological contamination of hands, objects, food and water supplies within domestic environments, adversely impacting public health. However, evidence quantifying the relationship between livestock, domestic animals, humans and microbiological contamination of household stored water remains limited. AIM:This longitudinal study aimed to examine the relationship between domestic contact with livestock and domestic animals on microbiological contamination of household Point-of-Use (POU) stored drinking water in rural Kenya and assess the influence of choice of faecal indicator on such associations. METHODOLOGY:A survey was performed in 234 households in Siaya county, Kenya, to observe presence of livestock (cattle, goats, poultry) and domestic animals (cats, dogs) in household compounds, alongside other risk factors for contamination of POU stored drinking water such as sanitation, storage conditions and hygiene practices. Samples from water sources (e.g. piped, spring/wells, boreholes, surface and rainwater) and from POU storage containers were tested for E. coli and intestinal enterococci. Livestock-related risk factors for water contamination were examined through multinomial regression, controlling for confounders. RESULTS:Rainwater was the main POU water source and was found to be highly susceptible to contamination. Multivariate analysis showed greater risk of gross (>100 CFU/100 mL) water contamination (with E. coli) for households where goats were observed, and/or where poultry roosted in proximity to stored household water (relative risk RR = 2.71; p = 0.001 and RR = 2.02; p = 0.012 respectively). Presence of a poultry coop was also associated with elevated intestinal enterococci densities (RR = 4.46; p = 0.001). Associations between contamination and livestock risk factors were thus similar for both bacteria groups, but E. coli counts declined more rapidly following collection from surface waters than enterococci counts (p = 0.024). CONCLUSION:The presence of livestock (particularly goats) and poultry within household compounds increases POU water contamination risk, suggesting the need for improved interventions to address cross-contamination within rural domestic settings. Within Siaya county, more effective community education is needed to raise awareness of POU water quality protection, particularly of rainwater.
Project description:In urban Maroua, Cameroon, improved drinking water sources are available to a large majority of the population, yet this water is frequently distributed through informal distribution systems and stored in home containers (canaries), leaving it vulnerable to contamination. We assessed where contamination occurs within the distribution system, determined potential sources of environmental contamination, and investigated potential pathogens. Gastrointestinal health status (785 individuals) was collected via health surveys. Drinking water samples were collected from drinking water sources and canaries. Escherichia coli and total coliform levels were evaluated and molecular detection was performed to measure human-associated faecal marker, HF183; tetracycline-resistance gene, tetQ; Campylobacter spp.; and Staphylococcus aureus. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between microbial contamination and gastrointestinal illness. Canari samples had higher levels of contamination than source samples. HF183 and tetQ were detected in home and source samples. An inverse relationship was found between tetQ and E. coli. Presence of tetQ with lower E. coli levels increased the odds of reported diarrhoeal illness than E. coli levels alone. Further work is warranted to better assess the relationship between antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and other pathogens in micro-ecosystems within canaries and this relationship's impact on drinking water quality.