Sustainable Safe Water Supply in Rural Asian Communities and Exposure to and Effects of Water Pollutants in Children

Research Project , Research Report 2004

Chiho WATANABE Dept.of Human Ecology,Graduate School of Medicine,The Univ.of Tokyo
Jun YOSHINAGA Dept of Environmental Systems,Graduate School of Frontier Scinces, The University of Tokyo
Makiko SEKIYAMA IR3S,The University of Tokyo(Research Partners)
Akhtar AHMAD National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Oekan ABDOELLAH Institute of Ecology, Pajajaran University, Bandung, Indonesia


In this fiscal period, we have conducted two surveys, one in December 2004, and another in March 2005, in the upper Citarum area, West Java, Indonesia. In this summary, we also report the results of October 2003 survey, for which chemical analyses had been conducted during the period of this project. The focus of this study was on degradation of water quality along the river, due to increasing water use of agricultural, industrial, as well as domestic (household) purposes, and their health implications. The subject communities were located at mid- to upper-Citarum area, two of them depended on agricultural and the remaining one was piscicultural activities. Since our focus was on the children, we chose two primary schools from each of these communities and conducted a survey to evaluate exposure to and possible effects of pesticides using urine and blood samples obtained from the schoolchildren. We found between-community difference in the levels of metabolites of organophosphate pesticides in urine, and blood acetylcholine esterase activity; these two parameters consistently pointed out that higher exposure to the OPs occurred in the non-agricultural (pescicultural) community implying that exposure to OPs occurred via some route that was not associated with agricultural activity. It was also found that many households used pesticides, which were classified as class II (moderately toxic) or III (highly toxic) according to WHO criteria. Despite this, the personal or household-level hygiene was poorly observed, and chances of accidental exposure would be high. Although the correlation in the pesticide concentrations between the mother and child was not so high, there existed several mother-child pairs that shared high exposure level, suggesting that some domestic (household) factors might play a role in determining the exposure level. Thus, educational approaches employing environmental education or health education will be required toward the sustainable development of agriculture in this area.


West Java, Agricultual activity,pesticides,heavy metals,health effects, trans-generational effects,children