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How safe is our drinking water?

RIVERSIDE, Calif. When we turn on the tap to get a glass of water, we just assume that it is safe to drink. But is it really safe? And, what exactly is "safe"?

The public has an opportunity to find out on April 18, when Marylynn Yates, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of California, Riverside, will give a free lecture on campus that will help the audience become familiar with the most common causes of waterborne diseases.

The lecture is the first in the annual Science Lecture Series hosted by the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. This year the theme is "The Science of Disease." The series aims to boost the public's awareness and understanding of science and of how scientists work.

Yates's hour-long talk is titled "Drinking Water: How Safe is Safe Enough?" It will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Rooms C, D and E, University Extension Center (UNEX). Seating is open. Parking at UNEX is free for lecture attendees.

"In the talk, I will explain the risks posed by microorganisms in drinking water," said Yates, the dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Sciences. "This will give the audience an appreciation for the risks posed by drinking water relative to other common risks."

Yates's research focuses on the transmission of human pathogenic microorganisms in environmental media, particularly water and wastewater. She serves on several advisory committees, panels and boards for water quality, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board Drinking Water Committee and the National Research Council's Water Science & Technology Board. Currently, she serves as editor for Applied & Environmental Microbiology.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007) and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2011), she is a recipient of UCR's Distinguished Teaching Award (2001-02) and was named Distinguished Teaching Professor (2006).

Yates received her doctoral degree in microbiology from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1984. She has a master's degree in chemistry from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Her lecture will be introduced by Dean Nielsen, a mathematics teacher in the Murietta Valley Unified School District.


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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