Addressing Potential Health Effects Due to Drinking Water Quality among Humans and Animals in Plain-Sect Community Using Community-Based Approaches

Lancaster County, which is home to a large plain-sect population, annually produces 72 million pounds of nitrogen from animal manure, which is considerably more than the absorptive capacity of local farms. The excess manure has documented pollution effects on the local water resources, including groundwater via excess nitrates and bacteria. This is concerning since groundwater is the primary source of drinking water mainly from private wells, which are not federally regulated. Excess nitrate and bacteria levels in drinking water can have multiple human (e.g., birth defects) and animal (e.g., poor growth) health effects. Plain-sect populations due to their reliance on traditional farm and manure management practices are at a higher risk for negative health outcomes due to poor water quality.

In this research project, we will examine the potential community health effects among plain-sect adults, children, and animals in Lancaster County caused by the high concentration of nitrates and bacteria in drinking water. We will use community-based research approach to understand current water quality conditions and perceptions, exposure level, exposure-health outcome relationship, identification of solutions to address the potential health effects among humans and animals, and design and delivery of public health action plan.

Our research will provide plain-sect community members with increased knowledge and skills to address drinking water quality issues that may affect human and animal health. Due to our research, we also expect that plain-sect community members will increase compliance with best drinking water quality management practices, and therefore, reduce the potential for human and animal health issues. Our research also leads to a strong trusting relationship among research team members (Penn State), plain-sect community leaders, and partners working with the plain-sect community.

Resulting Presentations

Kumar Chaudhary, A., & Singh, P. (2022, September). Using Community-Based Research to Understand Relationship Between Drinking Water Quality and Potential Health Effects among Plain-Sect Community. Poster presented at Cancer and Environment Symposium, Penn State, Pennsylvania. 


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