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‘Drinking water must be tested’

TANZANIANS have been urged to build the culture of conducting frequent water tests to ensure it is safe from all types of contaminants.

A resident Technician at Ngurdoto Defluoridation Research Station, Mr Godfrey Mkongo, said yesterday that the system will help to reduce the possibilities of contracting waterborne diseases and other related health impacts.

“Many people conduct water tests when the source is new, without knowing that the water can be contaminated or its content can change with time due to various factors,” Mr Mkongo said. Mr Mkongo said that even individuals who receive water from public systems can take samples for testing because the water can pick up contaminants during distribution.

“We are enlightening the public on the importance of testing water to establish its status and advise on measures to avoid further impacts,” Mr Mkongo noted. According to Mr Mkongo, the cost of a water test depends on the parameters to be tested, adding that one parameter can be tested at costs ranging between 4,000/- and 8,000/- .

He noted that the frequency of testing water also depends on the number of people served from it. Mr Mkongo added that if the water source serves many people, this means there is a need to undergo more tests.

Explaining on the level of fluoride in water and its impact on human health, he said the chemical is essential for teeth and skeletal health when taken through drinking water at a concentration of about 1.0mg/l. “Fluoride is colorless, odorless and tasteless in food and water.

Concentrations of up to 1.0mg/l in drinking water are known to prevent dental caries but higher concentration are toxic and cause dental, skeletal and crippling fluorosis,” he said.

He mentioned the regions with high concentration of fluoride as Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Singida, Mwanza, Mara and Manyara. Mr Mkongo, however, noted that people in the areas can use modern technology to reduce the concentration of the chemical in water such as bone char.

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