By Cristina Hodgson • 17 January 2020 • 8:57
A REPORT has revealed the hidden danger in tap water that causes 1,500 cases of bladder cancer in Spain each year.
Trihalomethanes, a by-product of chlorine disinfection, are associated with 11% of bladder cancer cases in Spain.
As reported by the SINC Agency, a public Spanish Scientific News and Information Service, up to 6,500 cases of bladder cancer have been detected in Europe each year from exposure to trihalomethanes (THM) in drinking water. This alarming stat represents about 5% of all European bladder cancer cases and 11% in Spain.
Trihalomethanes (THM) are compounds that are generated after water is disinfected with chemicals and then exposed to the body through ingestion, inhalation or dermal absorption.
The data has been revealed on the conclusion of a macro study led by the Institute of Global Health of Barcelona (ISGlobal), a centre promoted by La Caixa, which has analysed for the first time the presence of these chemical compounds in tap water in 26 countries of the European Union.
This new research, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, set out to collect recent levels of trihalomethanes in European municipal drinking water and to estimate the attributable bladder cancer burden.
The data was collected via a questionnaire sent to the organisations in charge of municipal water quality and involved collecting information on the concentration of total and individual trihalomethanes in tap water, distribution network or treatment plant.
This information was complemented with other available sources of information on trihalomethanes from 2005 to 2018 from 26 European Union countries, covering 75% of the population.
The findings revealed that permitted limits were exceeded in nine countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom).
In total, 6,561 cases of bladder cancer per year were estimated to be attributable to exposure to trihalomethanes in the European Union. Spain (1,482 cases) and the United Kingdom (1,356 cases) represented the highest estimated number of attributable cases.
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