Food Biotechnologist Concerned About Water Quality | Agrees With US Embassy Warning Citizens
Dr. Robert D.
There is an article entitled “USA Embassy Unfairly Issues Public Health Advisory on Barbados” appearing in the “Barbados Underground.” Mention was made by various officials including the general manager (GM) of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and the acting chief medical officer (CMO) to the non-specific nature of the elevated microbial counts obtained by the Americans. The CMO also alluded to the fact that pseudomonas spp. are normally found in water tanks and plumbing fixtures if the levels of chlorine are depleted.
I have a few comments to make on the above. It is a fact that one would expect to find pseudomonas spp.in water tanks and plumbing fixtures since pseudomonas are capable of forming microbial biofilms and attachment to solid surfaces if cleaning in place has not been done. What was not mentioned is the fact that pseudomonas are also found associated with sewage. Also not mentioned is the fact that some pseudomonas are pathogenic to humans owing to the elaboration of enterotoxins I refer the CMO and the GM to the following articles, which they can find on the internet:
Charterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO Specific Bacteriophages Isolated from Sewage Samples.
Kurman and others, 2009. American Journal of Biomedical Sciences.1 :2 :91–102.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli in Sewerage and Fresh Water. Wheater and others 1980.
Water Research : 14 :7 : 713-721.
In microbiology, elevations of microbial counts are a matter for concern. To do otherwise, one would be guilty of gross negligence. In chemical and microbial risk analysis, one is taught how to evaluate risk. Risk interpretations obviously by the Americans were found to be unacceptable in this particular case. The Americans issued the advisory to their nationals, as is their right. It is therefore silly to talk about the Americans being unfair. Should the Americans put the welfare of Barbadians above the welfare of their citizens? I really do not think so. To show how silly the above position is, on the Voice of Barbados (VOB) call-in program of 30th January 2018, there was a caller who seemed very knowledgeable. He told the moderator that as far as he was concerned, the Americans were correct in their actions. He went on to point out that on a scale of 1to 10,with 10 being the worst value, that Barbados’ water scored consistently around 9.5(with all the atrazine and fertilizers being used in agriculture one ought not to be surprised). The moderator said that he knew about the border-line nature of Barbados’ water but he was ticked off with the Americans because they made it seemed as though the whole country’s water supply was affected by the sewerage crisis. What amazed me about the whole thing was the fact that an experience journalist knew about the borderline nature of the country’s water supply and did not inform the citizenry.
This unfair talk is all about the fact that this country has been silly enough to depend mainly on tourism for developmental purposes. There is a fear that the bottom will drop out of the tourist market because of the present debacle. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” We have had leaders with limited or no vision. We are in the twenty-first century and the emphasis is still on economics, medicine, law, political science.
Robert D. Lucas, PH.D.