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Microbiological Quality And Health Risks Of Packaged Water Produced In Southern Ghana

JA Ampofo
A Andoh
W Tetteh
M Bello


Water packaged in plastic bottles and sachets have become popular means of providing potable drinking water for the urban and rural dwellers in Ghana. Concerns have been raised by the public on the safety of some of the packaged waters due to the offensive odour, colour, and turbidity often detected. One hundred and seventy-nine brands of sachet water and seventeen brands of bottled water were analyzed over a 5 year period for the presen-ce of bacterial pathogens. Seventy-two brands of the sachet water were found to contain total coliform bacteria ranging between 1 and 1800 colony-forming units (cfu) per 100 mL, and 15 brands had both total and faecal co-liform bacteria ranging from 2 to 62 cfu per 100 mL. Twenty brands of the sachet water that were found consis-tently contaminated with coliform bacteria were further analyzed for the presence of specific pathogens. Six of the twenty brands recorded the presence of Salmonella spp. with values between 1 and 6 cfu per mL, 7 recorded the presence of Clostridium spp. with values between 1 and 7 cfu per mL, and 15 brands recorded presence of Bacillus spp. with values between 1 and 72 cfu per mL. A relationship was established between behavioral cha-racteristics of a study group with type and source of purchased sachet water and self-reported gastrointestinal illness. Unlike the bottled water, about 23 - 43 % of the brands of sachet waters on the market were not bacteri-ologically safe for human consumption.

Journal of Applied Science and Technology Vol. 12 (1&2) 2007: pp. 88-97