Water Sanitation Health

Chemical safety of drinking-water

Assessing priorities for risk management


World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 160
Publication date: 2007
Languages: English
ISBN: 92 4 154676 X


This book provides guidance on the chemical safety of drinking-water. Chemical contaminants of drinking-water are often considered a lower priority than microbial contaminants, because adverse health effects from chemical contaminants are generally associated with long-term exposures, whereas the effects from microbial contaminants are usually immediate. Nonetheless, chemicals in water supplies can cause very serious problems.

The objective of this publication is to help users at national or local level to establish which chemicals in a particular setting should be given priority in developing strategies for risk management and monitoring of chemicals in drinking-water.

The document will be useful to public health authorities, those responsible for setting standards and for surveillance of drinking-water quality, and to water supply agencies responsible for water quality management. In particular, this publication will be applicable in settings where information on actual drinking-water quality is limited, which is the case in many developing countries and in rural areas of some developed countries.