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WEDCThesis-2011-2012-MELLONI.pdf (3.99 MB)

Arsenic in drinking water and governance issues: A case study from Italy

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posted on 2020-10-08, 13:14 authored by Gian Maria Melloni
Arsenic is “one of the chemicals of greatest health concern” (WHO, 2011b, p.315). Chronic high exposure to arsenic through drinking water is a major factor of health hazard, including carcinogenic effects. The health hazards associated with the presence of arsenic in drinking water, though, did not start receiving due attention before the 1990s, when in large parts of Bangladesh high morbidity and mortality rates were recorded and put in relation with elevated arsenic concentrations in drinking water. The WHO lowered the guideline value for arsenic in drinking water from 50µg/l to 10µg/l in 1993. In 1998 the European Commission issued the Directive 98/83 on “the quality of water intended for human consumption”. The Directive updated the drinking-water standards to be applied in the EU countries, by establishing 48 health-related water quality parameters, divided into microbiological, chemical and indicator parameters. Some of those parameters were made more stringent than in the previous European legislation (Directive 80/778 of 1980). Arsenic – a chemical parameter - was one of those, having the standard value drastically lowered from 50µg/l to 10µg/l, reflecting the WHO guidelines. Directive 98/83 accorded a degree of flexibility to Member States as regards the timescale for compliance with those quality standards, by setting a system of derogation that gave Member States the time to plan and to implement any infrastructural upgrades needed....



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