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Statement on scientific and technical support relating to the recast of amended Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption

On the occasion of the recast of Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption, the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) has issued a statement on the new parameters and revised standards, with full account taken of the health, technical and economic issues.

This proposal for a directive has not followed some of WHO’s recommendations, and the HCSP questions the deviations from the guidelines of an international body bringing together the best global expertise. The HCSP considers it important to retain the possibility of temporary waiver, associating this with a certain framework defined for parameters where exceedances of regulatory values are deemed temporarily admissible and without health risk. The notion of quality benchmarks must also be retained for the parameters that are cited in the text. There is some vagueness about the definition of control points, which implies that all measurements should be made at the consumer’s tap. Lastly, the removal of aspects associated with the quality control of materials in contact with water is problematic.

Comments have been made about the microbiological and chemical parameters added or removed.

Consideration of the variability in measurements connected with the reality of such determinations, and the tailoring of analytical programmes to local situations, are recommended. It is also recommended that consumer information be improved to better reflect the reality in terms of the variability in results.

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