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Organizing and Reorganizing: Power and Change in Health Care Organisations.

Chemical contam

Chemical contamination of drinking-water may also have effects on health, although in general
these tend to be chronic rather than acute, unless a specific pollution event has occurred and are
therefore generally considered of lower priority than microbiological contamination.
Chemical pollutants which affect health include nitrate, arsenic, mercury and fluoride. In addition,
there are an ever-increasing number of synthetic organic compounds released into the
environment whose effect on human health is poorly understood, but which it appears may be
carcinogenic.
Some details are given below on the four substances noted above, however, it must be recognized
that raised concentrations of any chemical known to have an impact on human health may lead to
long-term problems. In general, water sources used for drinking-water supply should be protected
from chemical contamination through land-use control, definition of protection zones and
application of adequate wastewater treatment.
Nitrate
Excess nitrate in drinking-water has been linked to methaemaglobinamenia in infants, the socalled ‘blue-baby’ syndrome. Nitrate leads to the oxidation of normal haemoglobin to
methaemoglobin which is unable to transport oxygen to the tissues. This may result in cyanosis (a
dark blue coloration) and in some cases, asphyxiation and death.

ination and health