A Risk Assessment of Northwest Christchurch Water Supply: Systematic Review of Lead Contaminants
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Lead (Pb) is a known toxicant that affects young children. It is believed that old water reticulation systems are prone to lead leaching from the walls of lead pipes and fixtures where water is conveyed to households. Many households in Christchurch city particularly in the Northwestern and Central parts of the city contain old water reticulation systems thereby, putting children at considerable health risks. The purpose of this dissertation is to identify the hazards of lead exposure that comes from old water reticulation system of Northwest (NW) Christchurch water supply to households, characterize the health risks due to such contamination and, finally, to suggest possible ways to minimize the hazards. This is accomplished by conducting a systematic review of literature on the exposure patterns of lead from reticulation systems and a literature review of the possible dose response patterns of health effects of lead contamination from old water reticulation systems on children. Thus, this dissertation involves a literature based risk assessment of lead contamination of drinking water supply in the Northwest Christchurch Zone and particularly, its effects on young children. The selection process of the research studies is based on whether they offer accurate and suitable information on the risk of adverse mental function in infants and young children due to environmental lead exposure; whether the studies have been peer reviewed by qualified scientists; whether the results are confirmed by other studies; and involves only human subjects. Future research may consider whether lead levels in drinking water are seasonal; whether these values are significant to health or, the possible role of the government in tightening product controls when monitoring the availability and health risk of high lead drinking water supply plumbing products available in the New Zealand market.