WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2009 Scientists and engineers will face a host of obstacles over the next decade in providing clean water to millions of people caught up in a water shortage crisis, a panel of scientists and engineers said today at a briefing at the Broadcast Center of the National Press Building on the Final Report on the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.
The American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, launched Global Challenges in 2008 as a special series of 12 podcasts and Web sites describing how scientists are responding to enormous challenges facing 21st Century society. The reality today, said Marc Edwards, Ph.D., a panelist from Virginia Tech University, is that the existing plumbing infrastructure is inadequate, and scientists have insufficient knowledge about how to overcome the challenges of providing safe water to people around the world.
Although Edwards stressed the importance of water conservation in meeting those, he also cited unintended consequences of such efforts. He noted, for instance, that reduced-flush toilets and other water conservation methods are allowing water to remain in household pipes longer. As it stagnates in pipes, the water could develop undesirable characteristics and have unwanted effects on household plumbing.
Edwards, a noted authority whom Time magazine termed "the Plumbing Professor" and named as one of the top innovators of 2004, also detailed how a change in disinfectant from chlorine to chloramine caused leaching of lead into drinking water. A new study by Edwards and colleagues from Virginia Tech University and Children's National Medical Center concludes that hundreds of children in Washington D.C. were introduced to high levels of lead from the city's drinking water. The study will be published in Environmental Science & Technology, one of ACS' 34 peer-reviewed scientific journals.
"The predictions fo
|Contact: Charmayne Marsh|
American Chemical Society