The highest level of carcinogens found by a research team in the wake of a typhoon is still far below the nation's allowable level, and the public need not "worry too much," an official from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Tuesday.
Chiu Kuo-shu (???), an EPA senior technical specialist, said the team's finding of a maximum chemical compound, total trihalomethanes, (TTHMs ?????), was 64.9 mg/cubic meter, which is far lower than the allowable level of 80 mg/cubic meter in Taiwan.
Taiwan's allowable level is more strict than the 100 mg/cubic meter allowed in the European Union or countries like Japan and Canada, and is only second to Germany's 50 mg/cubic meter, according to Chiu.
Chiu said that if the public is still concerned about their drinking water, they can boil water for between three and five minutes, and the TTHMs will largely evaporate, cutting the health hazard to the public even further.
The team of researchers from National Taiwan University and National Cheng Kung University said that short-term heavy rain, such as is common during typhoons, can affect water quality in catchment areas, leading to a surge of carcinogens in the water.
The researchers took water samples from water pipes at Zhitan Water Treatment Plant in Xindian, New Taipei after Typhoon Soudelor, which hit Taiwan in August 2015, and conducted an analysis.
They found that two days after Typhoon Soudelor hit Taiwan, the TTHMs and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) surged by between 40 percent and 200 percent when compared with before the typhoon.
The finding was published in Scientific Reports, published by Nature magazine.
The finding is at odds with the previous concept that if tap water is boiled, it is safe. The team found that even if tap water is boiled for five minutes, the TTHMs in the water could only be removed by 70 percent.
Typhoon Soudelor and Typhoon Dujuan that followed led to a surge of turbidity in tap water in some households of the greater Taipei area last year. The public scrambled to buy bottled water at that time.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel