Occurrence of cyanobacterial toxins (microcystins) in surface water of rural Bangladesh: pilot study
By M. Welker, I. Chorus and J. Fastner, Federal Environmental Agency, Germany
In Bangladesh the exposure of millions of inhabitants to water from (shallow) tube wells contaminated with high geogenic loads of arsenic is a major concern. As an alternative to the costly drilling of deep wells, the return to the use of surface water after treatment, as source of drinking water is being considered. In addition to the well-known hazards of water borne infectious diseases associated with the use of surface water, recently the potential public health implications of toxic cyanobacteria have been recognized.
As a first step towards a risk assessment for cyanotoxins in Bangladesh surface waters, seston samples of 79 ponds were analysed in late summer of 2002 for the presence of cyanobacteria and microcystins, the most frequently detected cyanobacterial toxins worldwide. This report presents the findings of the work.
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Other information that may be of interest
- Guidelines for drinking-water quality
- Toxic cyanobacteria in water
- Cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins
- Managing chemical hazards in drinking-water
© World Health Organization 2004
This document is in English only.