Wastewater Use in Agriculture: Public Health Considerations

Authored by: Blanca Jiménez , Inés Navarro

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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This entry describes both the positive and negative effects on human health associated with the use of wastewater for agricultural production. The origins of these effects are discussed with reference to different types of pollutants and the constituents of wastewater. In order to be able to quantitatively measure and compare the advantages and disadvantages of using wastewater, analytical procedures and a method to assess risks are discussed. Solutions to control risks are presented, ranging from the treatment of wastewater to the use of chemotherapy. Through the implementation of these solutions, exposure pathways from agricultural fields to the site of food ingestion may be managed to control pollution, recontamination, and cross-contamination. It is concluded that in order to address the current and future effects of the extensive use of wastewater irrigation in low-income regions, it is important to set sound policies to affordably and realistically preserve advantages (livelihoods and food security), while controlling health and environmental risks in such a way that the situation may be progressively improved.

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