Drinking rainwater can be harmful to your health – KNUST researchers

Woman hand with umbrella in the rain in green nature background

Roofing materials have been identified to affect the water quality.

Drinking roof runoffs can have harmful health impacts on both children and adults.

That is the finding of a study conducted by researchers at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s Department of Chemistry (KNUST).

Rainwater harvesting is a substitute supply of water in Ghana, where many houses lack access to drinkable water.
However, it has been determined that the water quality is impacted by the roofing materials.

Science of the Total Environment published a study in 2022 that looked for specific compounds and how they might affect consumer health.
Lead researcher Professor Osei Akoto stated, “We intended to examine heavy metals content, physicochemical, and bacteriological parameters in roof runoffs and estimate the water quality index and health risk these metals offer to consumers.”

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In the Ejisu municipality, rainwater was collected from roofing materials made of aluminum, galvanized steel, aluminum, and asbestos for the study.

The researchers used rainwater that was gathered directly from the sky as a benchmark.

They discovered that certain viruses and heavy metals like cadmium, iron, and chromium were over the WHO threshold.

All runoffs from the four roofing materials recorded Cd, Fe, Cr, a , total and fecal coliform levels above WHO limit for drinking water. Cadmium in runoffs from asbestos roofing, for example, was shown to pose the largest rise.

He asserted that cadmium constituted the biggest threat to children’s and adults’ non-cancer health of all the roof runoffs.

He said that of all the roof runoffs, cadmium posed the greatest risk to children’s and adults’ non-cancer health.

“The projected water quality index for runoffs from the four roofing materials surpassed 100, suggesting that they are unfit for drinking,” according to the study.

According to oral exposure to Cd in runoffs from asbestos roofing material, a child’s and an adult’s respective hazard quotients were calculated to be 9.53 and 4.08, respectively.

However, the water that was directly collected from the sky was far safer.

“There was a significant variation in pH, EC, Zn, Cd, Cr, Fe, E. coli, total and fecal coliform levels between control samples and roof runoffs,” he noted.

Therefore, the researchers advise avoiding consuming rainwater.

SOURCE: Myjoyonline.com

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