Occurrence of Lead and Other Toxic Metals Derived from Drinking-Water Systems in Three West African Countries.

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From: Environmental Health Perspectives(Vol. 129, Issue 4)
Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,854 words
Lexile Measure: 1540L

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Abstract :

Background: Exposure to toxic metals (TMs) such as lead can cause lifelong neurodevelopmental impairment and other adverse outcomes. TMs enter drinking water from human activity, geogenic contamination, and corrosion of water system components. Several studies report TM contamination in piped systems and private wells in high-income countries (HICs). However, few robust studies report on TM contamination in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Objectives: We characterized the occurrence and investigated sources of TM contamination in 261 rural water systems in three West African LMICs to inform prevention and management. Methods: Water samples were collected from 261 community water systems (handpumps and public taps) across rural Ghana, Mali, and Niger. Scrapings were collected from accessible components of a subset of these systems using a drill with acid-washed diamond-tipped bits. Samples were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometry or ICP optical emission spectroscopy. Results: Of the TMs studied, lead most frequently occurred at levels of concern in sampled water system components and water samples. Lead mass fractions exceeded International Plumbing Code (IPC) recommended limits (0.25% wt/wt) for components in 82% (107/130) of systems tested; brass components proved most problematic, with 72% (26/36) exceeding IPC limits. Presence of a brass component in a water system increased expected lead concentrations in drinking-water samples by 3.8 times. Overall, lead exceeded World Health Organization (WHO) guideline values in 9% (24/261) of drinking-water samples across countries; these results are broadly comparable to results observed in many HICs. Results did not vary significantly by geography or system type. Discussion: Ensuring use of lead-free (

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A661609629