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Health impairments arising from drinking water polluted with domestic sewage and excreta in China.

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Institute of Environmental Health & Engineering, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Beijing, China.


Raw water of poor quality still causes many drinking-water associated health problems all over China, largely because of poor sanitation, inadequate disposal of sewage and excreta. Eutrophication due to excess of total nitrogen and phosphorous in some sources for drinking-water has led to massive proliferation of cyanobacteria. The dominant species of cyanophyta can produce microcystins, a potent liver cancer promotor. As in previous studies, high incidence of liver cancer coincided with high microcystin concentration in the source water, especially in pond water. A frequent consequence of heavy pollution of source water is further the high incidence of infectious intestinal diseases, which are more than 10-100 times as frequent in China than in developed countries.

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