January 2009, Vol. 21, No.1

Letters

Chlorination Still Needed in Developing World

Sharon Roy Michael Beach Mark Eberhard

 In response to the letter regarding water treatment practices in developing countries [Letters, September 2008], it is true that treatment technologies such as UV and ozone are being assessed and implemented in some locations in the United States as stand-alone or supplemental treatment to standard chemical disinfection methods. However, chlorination and filtration are still common water treatment modalities and continue to provide important public health protections for American water supplies. Consequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would not recommend the abandonment of chlorination as a method of drinking water domestically or internationally.

Each country should choose appropriate drinking water treatment technologies on location-specific considerations, including but not limited to source water quality, available resources, and population prevalence of endemic waterborne disease. Developing formal guidelines such as you request is a long-term process that would require multi-agency and stakeholder involvement, and might best be led by an international public health agency such as World Health Organization.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta