Leaders against chlorination

Saturday May 18, 2019 Written by Published in Health

Traditional leaders of the Cook Islands remain steadfast in their decision to oppose the chlorination of public water supplies.


Koutu Nui president Paul Allsworth said yesterday they do not want to see any chemicals used in Rarotonga’s water supply.

The Ministry of Health and the project management unit (PMU) in charge of Te Mato Vai have been investigating water disinfection options and CI News believes one of their preferred options include chlorination.

Allsworth said the executives of the Koutu Nui were against the chlorination idea, in line with the public consensus expressed at a consultation meeting this week.

“The long term effects of chlorinated water on human health are being recognised, cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93 per cent higher than those who drink water without chlorine, according to the united states council of environmental quality,” Allsworth said.

According to the PMU, the public water stations have been failing water safety surveillance tests, which is why they need to disinfect them.

Public meetings were held to discuss the issue this week.

Allsworth said the general response from those who attended these meetings were against chlorinating the water supply.

“They have already replaced the old steel pipes with plastic ones, so no dirt is getting into them,” he said.

“Filtering the water or using a UV treatment would be better than chlorination.”

The Te Mato Vai PMU said earlier that the Te Mato Vai project involves building a safe and reliable four-step water treatment process to deliver a public potable water supply. Disinfection is just the final step in this process.

Current studies indicate that using or drinking water with small amounts of chlorine does not cause harmful health effects and provides protection against waterborne disease outbreaks, according to us Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Te Mato Vai website details chemical disinfection as safe, cost-effective, easier to manage effectively and the most commonly used option in New Zealand and Australian water supply networks.

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