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Study Finds Amoebas Survive In Treated Drinking Water

Study Finds Amoebas Survive In Treated Drinking Water

New research shows that free-living amoebas exist in the drinking water supplies of many industrialized nations, despite treatment facilities designed to filter and disinfect the water.

A survey of 26 studies from 18 countries showed that free-living amoebas (FLA) consistently survive these treatments and quickly multiply in drinking water distribution and storage systems (Environmental Science Technology).

Two scientists from America and Australia reviewed drinking-water studies from Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia to determine the abundance of amoebas. They report that researchers found FLA in 45 percent of tap water samples. In 19 of the 26 studies, the amoebas were in every tap water sample collected.

Although it might not surprise you that pesticides, natural gas, and yes, even amoebas are floating around in your drinking water, scientists are concerned about what these new findings mean for public health.

Chemical and Engineering News reports that FLAs “can cause fatal diseases such as meningoencephalitis, an infection of the brain” and “also host other pathogenic microorganisms, such as Legionella and Mycobacterium.”

Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to erradicating pathogens like FLA from water supplies. Experts say that changing water treatment regulations would take years to implement, and most agree that the best way to control the issue may be to change plumbing codes at the local municipality level.

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Image Credit: University of Leicester

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9:59PM PST on Jan 21, 2011


4:00PM PST on Jan 20, 2011

in addition to treatment of water you can simply boil it or pasturise it as same as milk before releasing it to the public for mass consumption and can use solar thermal energy for that purpose too which is cheap.

6:10PM PST on Jan 19, 2011

No wonder water is so expensive, look at all these extras they're putting in it! Lol. I'd like at least some amoebas, antibiotics and hexavalent chromium for what your making me pay for this water.

12:30PM PST on Jan 19, 2011


11:33AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

Yum Im going to go have a glass of amoebas. There is always going to be a way for bugs to get through so you may as well start building up an imunity to them.

3:43AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

Agree w/ Don A. Not enough info in the article. Should have a link to lists of places where water was tested and ways for individuals to ensure clean drinking water-- filtration, britta etc?

1:07AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

Ew. Thanks for the info. So much for vegetarianism or veganism, if we're drinking amoebas...

1:13PM PST on Jan 18, 2011

Sounds to me like even bottled water is an issue then? A good call for reverse osmosis and some of the other water filtration systems that destroy bacteria at the home level.

11:16AM PST on Jan 18, 2011

do you know how many amoebas you have already eaten in your life? swimming, playing in puddles, and yes even drinking good old fashion sun tea. so far so good not dead yet

10:26AM PST on Jan 18, 2011

Like others have stated, we are missing information. I have read that many cities are facing problems with hexavalent chromium (a mineral linked to cancer.) I've also heard that some people using hot tubs develop a rash from organisms, even after using chlorine. Now we are finding FLA in our drinking water. Chlorine is used to treat water to make it safe for drinking and bathing. Could we, perhaps, be facing a problem that some organisms are resistant to chlorine? I use filtered water from my refrigerator and from a filter into the bathroom, but is that good enough? Please, we need more information, sooner than later.

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