One of the dangers of drinking untreated borehole water is that it could lead to high blood pressure, seizure, or convulsion in those who consume it, a medical researcher has told THE WHISTLER.
Dr Emmanuel Chukwuka Isuajah , a Lagos-based medical practitioner and researcher, made the revelation in an interview with THE WHISTLER while speaking on how borehole water pollution poses danger to health.
Isuajah who spoke on the effects of drinking borehole water, said, “Water regulation in Nigeria is poor, we normally kill bacteria with chlorination in water, which is why you see they have a whole lot of chlorine in boreholes. So chlorination without regulation is not good for human consumption, there’s a basis for everything.”
He noted that there is an internationally allowed concentration for chloride in water, but added that it is not followed by regulators in Nigeria.
He said, “The issue lies that we are not obeying it in Nigeria. Are there regulations to that effect? How effective has the regulation been? That’s where the problem takes off when these are not met.
“Each borehole, if you have not greater than 75mg of chlorine per liter, it’s okay. But by the time it starts getting up to 200mg per liter, it will start giving you a salty taste.
“It is hazardous to drink such water, although the effects have been a matter of controversy. The Center for Disease Control in the United States is coming up to say that, when you have 4mg per liter or below you will not have an issue.”
Isuajah claimed that water regulation in Nigeria is poor, adding that chloride is being applied to boreholes in Nigeria by unprofessional bodies which have led to high chlorides in borehole water in the country.
“Chloride is supposed to be used for disinfecting the water, killing the germs in that water. But because it’s not regulated, it’s not guided; the practice is done by quarks. Due to this reason, we have very high chloride in Nigeria boreholes.
“High chloride could be defined by getting above 75mg per liter, but CDC has been able to say that 4mg and below is the one that will not cause problems,” he said.
While pointing out the dangers of drinking borehole water, Isuajah said, “For us that are eating chlorides anyhow, now the challenge is that chloride forms one of the major osmotic electrolytes in the body.
“High chloride will result in what is called hyper-chloremia, which causes elevated blood pressure, it will cause water retention in the body leading to muscle weakness(spasm twitch). People will come to the hospital with irregular heart failure, people will start suffering from confusional disorder, they will find it difficult to concentrate, their personality will change, people will start complaining.
“Most of them will start having numbness, tingling sensation, and some may even have seizures and convulsion depending on their regulatory measure or body. There is a whole lot that causes this seizure, convulsion, irregular heart failure, without knowing that it’s from what he’s drinking while they are busy checking other things.”
He also noted other means through which boreholes could get contaminated, “ If it is near sewage, for instance, the sewage will be pushing sodium chloride into it. If it is a place where the ground rock has sodium chloride, Like ‘Okposi’ in one of my unpublished research, I found out that ‘Okposi’ has prevalence for hypertension.
“In my findings with my colleagues, we know that the world prevalence for hypertension for those above 25 years is 4 per cent to 40 per cent, while the prevalence for hypertension in Ebonyi State for those older than 55 years is 23.2 per cent. Now the prevalence of hypertension in Okposi from those 50 to 59 years is 61.3 per cent. For those 60 to 69 years we have 52.05 per cent.
“I found out that no hypertensive person dies before the age of 70 years in Okposi, and that makes the prevalence among those above 70 years 57.39bper cent, and it continued to drop per decade because those who are living are those who are not hypertensive. This strengthens the fact that sodium chloride causes hypertension.
“The closer you are to a salt lake the more the prevalence of hypertension.”
He also countered the belief that boiling water reduces the chlorine content. He said, “Chloride does not sublime when boiled, rather boiling concentrates chloride the most. The only thing that will solve the problem of chloride in those where it’s natural is to regulate boreholes through seminars, orientation, and creating awareness of the dangers.
“In places where there is natural salt in the water like okposi, what will solve it is what we call exchange resin. Exchange resin could be interconnected with the water as a whole to reduce that, and elongate peoples’ lives.”
Isuajah advised that people should keep resin in their homes and filter water that has high chloride in it.