About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Recycled Sewage Water is Safe for Crop Irrigation, Says Study

by Sheela Philomena on September 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Font : A-A+

 Recycled Sewage Water is Safe for Crop Irrigation, Says Study

Treated wastewater is safe for agriculture, say scientists. "The levels of pharmaceuticals and personal care products that we found in food crops growing under real-world conditions were quite low and most likely do not pose any health concern," said Jay Gan, Ph.D., who led the study. "I think this is good news. These substances do not tend to accumulate in vegetables, including tomatoes and lettuce that people often eat raw. We can use that information to promote the use of this treated wastewater for irrigation."

Gan and colleagues at the University of California-Riverside launched the study because drought and water shortages in the American southwest and in other arid parts of the world are using water recycled from municipal sewage treatment plants to irrigate food crops as the only option.

Advertisement

Water from toilets and sinks enters those facilities from homes and offices, and undergoes processing to kill disease-causing microbes and remove other material. Processing leaves that water, or "effluent," from most sewage treatment plants clean enough to drink. Traditionally, however, sewage treatment plants simply discharge the water into rivers or streams. The effluent still may contain traces of impurities, including the remains of ingredients in prescription drugs, anti-bacterial soaps, cosmetics, shampoos and other PPCPs that are flushed down toilets and drains.

Gan explained that concerns have arisen about the health and environmental effects of those residual PPCPs, especially over whether they might accumulate to dangerous levels in food crops. Previous studies on PPCPs in food crops were small in scale and conducted in laboratories or greenhouses. Gan said his team was the first to focus on 20 PPCPs in multiple crops under realistic field conditions.
Advertisement

They chose eight vegetables that people often eat raw — carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, celery and cabbage. Gan explained that cooking and other processing can destroy PPCPs, and he wanted to determine the maximum amounts of PPCPs that consumers might ingest.

Xiaoqin Wu, a postdoctoral student in Gan's lab who gave the ACS presentation, said all the crops absorbed PPCPs, including a medication for epilepsy; triclosan, a common anti-bacterial ingredient; a tranquilizer; and caffeine. Leafy vegetables took up the highest amounts of PPCPs.

Wu and Gan said the findings are a first step toward a full understanding of the potential human health effects of PPCPs in sewage treatment plant effluent recycled for irrigation. For instance, many other substances from PPCPs may occur in recycled water but were not included in the study. Likewise, they noted, young children, older individuals and people with chronic diseases may be more susceptible to low levels of PPCPs.

They pointed out that irrigation of food crops with treated wastewater is a well-established practice in some desert countries. Israel, for instance, recycles about 80 percent of all municipal sewage treatment plant effluent and plans to ramp that up to 100 percent by 2020. Estimates suggest that the United States only recycles about 2 to 3 percent. Water scarcities predicted for the future could substantially increase the use of recylced wasterwater here and globally. Water shortages already affect almost 1 billion people, they added.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Water - Nutrient that Beats the Heat Tips for Healthy Fasting During Ramadhan Water Matters: Why You Need to Drink Enough Water Everyday 

Recommended Reading
Olive Stones to Depollute Industrial Sewage Water
Research carried out by the Department of Chemical Engineering makes it possible to remove chrome, ....
Europe Needs Genetically Engineered Crops
Without embracing genetically engineered crops (GMOs), the European Union cannot meet its goals in ....
GM Crops Cannot be Completely Abandoned by India: Jaipal Reddy
Minister Jaipal Reddy announced on Wednesday that India cannot afford to completely abandon GM ......
GM Crops: A Solution To Food Security
A judicious blend of traditional farming and new technologies like GM crops can ensure food and ......
Tips for Healthy Fasting During Ramadhan
Ramadhan calls for a change in your food habits, and to help you glide through it easily, here we’ve...
Water - Nutrient that Beats the Heat
Dehydration, acidity, loss of energy are common problems that often occur due to insufficient water ...
Water Matters: Why You Need to Drink Enough Water Everyday
Water is essential to balance body fluids, boost brain function, improve digestion, prevent kidney s...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use