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Quality control of drinking water sold in plastic bags in Abidjan (COTE D’IVOIRE)

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
2. Towards the Future: Water Resources and Global Changes
Author(s): Jean Stéphane Claon
Cho Christophe Amin N’
Julie Sackou Kouakou
Sylvie Kore Lekadou
Luc Kouadio
UFR Sciences Pharmaceutiques-Université de Cocody-Abidjan Institut National d'Hygiène Publique - Abidjan

AbstractIntroduction and objectives Sales of plastic-bag-packaged water have been on the rise in West African countries. The success is mainly due to its convenience, affordable cost and apparent hygiene. The product was first introduced in fully hand-made bags, and in 2003 the process was improved by using small packaging process units. As the result, the water comes in 250 ml bags with trade name, expiration dates and various quality claims. The consumer excitement surrounding the new packaging resulted in a proliferation of small companies. Our study aims to assess the quality of this packaged water and its production sites. Methods Production sites were inspected and the water quality was studied from 2005 to 2007. The method of Ichikawa was used for the inspection. Production sites with successful inspection had their water samples submitted for physical, chemical and bacteriological analyses using WHO recommended parameters. All analyses were conducted at the Institut Nationale d’Hygiene Publique (National Institute of Public Hygiene). Results 161 production sites were inspected. Almost half (45%) failed the quality control inspection with adverse implications on water potability. Among noted reasons for this failure rate were the lack of employee training (12%), substandard sanitation programs (10%) and production sites (9%). In addition, 6% of production sites had their plastic bags handfilled; increasing thereby the contamination risks. Among the production sites with a successful inspection, 88% had water samples meeting all the WHO potability criteria. The remaining 14% had water samples exceeding the recommended levels of coliforms, pH and nitrites. Conclusion The introduction of new water plastic-bags was a progress. However, the product quality and packaging processes needs to be improved to live up to the WHO recommended criteria. Our data illustrated the health risks associated with this popular product.
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