WIT Press

The Survey Of Drinking Water Supply In Estonia From The Point Of View Of Public Health


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WIT Press


E. Indermitte, A. Saava & A. Kull


Access to a sufficient supply of safe drinking water is essential in maintaining public health. The quality of water and associated health risks vary throughout the world with some regions showing contamination of drinking water by pathogens or high levels of chemical compounds, whereas elsewhere these are very low and present no problem for human health. Considerable variations also occur on a more local level within countries. The purpose of the study was to analyse the status of public water supply and drinking water quality in towns and rural settlements of Estonia and its possible impact on public health. The basis of the study was the Health Protection Inspectorate database on the water suppliers and water quality. A special study was carried out to determine fluoride content (the main toxic chemical of concern in Estonia) in drinking water. All towns and rural settlements with water supply systems serving at least 100 inhabitants were visited and water samples were taken. The access to public drinking water supplies by counties was analysed. The exposure of the population to selected chemicals of concern was determined. Estonia is characterised by a large proportion of small water supplies. It makes the safeguarding of water quality and control complicated. The percentage of the population exposed to toxic compounds (fluoride, boron) was small and this occurred mainly in the case of small water supplies. At the same time a considerable amount of the population is influenced by undesirable chemicals (iron, manganese, etc.). These substances are non-toxic but disturb the conditions of water usage and quality of life. The priority in planning and improving public water supply should be given to activities minimising the health risks from toxic components in drinking water. Keywords: drinking water supply, health risks, Estonia, fluoride.


drinking water supply, health risks, Estonia, fluoride.