Review Advance Publication
Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1509995
A Review of Health Risks and Pathways for Exposure to Wastewater Use in Agriculture
PDF Version (542 KB)
Background: Wastewater is increasingly being used in the agricultural sector to cope with the depletion of freshwater resources as well as water stress linked to changing climate conditions. As wastewater irrigation expands, research focusing on the human health risks is critical because exposure to a range of contaminants must be weighed with the benefits to food security, nutrition and livelihoods.
Objectives: The goal of this paper was to review research examining health risks and exposure pathways associated with wastewater irrigation to identify research trends and gaps.
Methods: We conducted a review of the literature and identified a total of 126 studies published from 1995-2013. Findings were summarized based on several themes including types of exposure pathways, wastewater contaminants, methodological approaches and the geographical distribution of research.
Results: Only 23 studies used epidemiological methods, while most research applied alternative methods to estimate risk, such as quantitative risk assessment models or comparisons of crop contamination to established guidelines for wastewater reuse. A geographic breakdown demonstrated a focus on microbiological contaminants in specific regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, despite growing chemical risks associated with rapid urbanization and industrialization that may change the types and distribution of wastewater contaminants.
Conclusions: To provide a more comprehensive understanding of the health risks of wastewater use in agriculture, future research should consider multiple exposure routes, long-term health implications, and increase the range of contaminants studied, particularly in regions heavily dependent on wastewater irrigation.
This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.
Citation: Dickin SK, Schuster-Wallace CJ, Qadir M, Pizzacalla K. A Review of Health Risks and Pathways for Exposure to Wastewater Use in Agriculture. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1509995
Received: 25 March 2015
Accepted: 8 January 2016
Advance Publication: 29 January 2016
Note to readers with disabilities: EHP strives to ensure that all journal content is accessible to all readers. However, some figures and Supplemental Material published in EHP articles may not conform to 508 standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing journal content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff will work with you to assess and meet your accessibility needs within 3 working days.
Supplemental Material PDF (169 KB)
Note to readers with disabilities: EHP has provided a 508-conformant table of contents summarizing the Supplemental Material for this article (see below) so readers with disabilities may determine whether they wish to access the full, nonconformant Supplemental Material. If you need assistance accessing this or any other content on this site, please contact email@example.com. Our staff will work with you to assess and meet your accessibility needs within 3 working days.
Attention, Authors: New Submission System
EHP is now using Editorial Manager for manuscript submissions. All user accounts have been transferred to Editorial Manager—just log into Editorial Manager and reset your password. Editorial Manager offers an in-depth help index; for further questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy using our streamlined new submission system!
Sign Up to Receive E-mail Alerts
Recent Advance Publications
Use of Cooking Fuels and Cataract in a Population-Based Study: The India Eye Disease Study
Particulate Air Pollution and Fasting Blood Glucose in Non-Diabetic Individuals: Associations and Epigenetic Mediation in the Normative Aging Study, 2000-2011
Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Association with Maternal and Infant Thyroid Homeostasis: A Multipollutant Assessment
A Systematic Comparison of Linear Regression-Based Statistical Methods to Assess Exposome-Health Associations
Prenatal Air Pollution Exposures, DNA Methyl Transferase Genotypes, and Associations with Newborn LINE1 and Alu Methylation and Childhood Blood Pressure and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in the Children’s Health Study