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Well water in Britain linked to illnesses
Children who drank water in British homes with private water supplies such as wells or springs had higher rates of illness, researchers say.
An estimated 1 percent of British people use private water supplies, often to avoid restrictions such as watering bans during drought. Water from such sources is not treated and almost half contained bacteria such as E. coli in at least one sample, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Study leader Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia said a survey of 600 people using private water supplies found children age 10 and under who drank from these type of water sources suffered on average five bouts of illness a year — a rate comparable with the developing world.
The survey of homes in Norfolk, Suffolk and Herefordshire required people to keep a diary of symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pains, nausea, headaches and fever over a 12-week period.
The findings, published in PLoS ONE, showed only 38 percent of the households were treating their water through methods such as filtration or chlorination.
“This is a serious concern. As well as children being more at risk — they also suffer the most from an episode of diarrhea — with greater rates of hospitalization and higher mortality rates,” Hunter said. “It is very important that households reliant on private water supplies, where children under 10 live or visit, are identified and frequently tested for pollution.”
Copyright 2012 by United Press International