Fluoride Action Network

Challenges for Safe and Healthy Drinking Water in China

Source: Water and Health [Epub ahead of print] | April 29th, 2020 | By Jianyong Wu
Location: China


Purpose of Review
Rapid economic growth and its huge population are putting tremendous pressure on water sustainability in China. Ensuring clean drinking water is a great challenge for public health due to water shortage and pollution. This article reviews current scientific findings on health-related issues on drinking water and discusses the challenges for safe and healthy drinking water in China.

Recent Findings
From literature published since 2010, a variety of emerging contaminants were detected in drinking water, including disinfection byproducts (DBPs), pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), antibiotic resistance genes, and pathogens. Arsenic and fluoride are still the two major contaminants in groundwater. Microcystins, toxins produced by cyanobacteria, were also frequently detected in surface water for drinking. Health effects of exposure to arsenic, fluoride, nitrates, DBPs, and noroviruses in drinking water have been reported in several epidemiological studies. According to literature, water scarcity is still a severe ongoing issue, and regional disparity affects the access to safe and healthy drinking water. In addition, urbanization and climate change have strong influences on drinking water quality and water quantity.

Multiple classes of contaminants of emerging concern have been detected in drinking water, while epidemiological studies on their health effects are still inadequate. Water scarcity, regional disparity, urbanization, and climate change are the major challenges for safe and healthy drinking water in China.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Wu, J. Challenges for Safe and Healthy Drinking Water in China. Curr Envir Health Rpt (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-020-00274-5


  • Emerging contaminants
  • Water sustainability
  • Water scarcity
  • Epidemiology
  • Public health

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