Volume 79, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Despite shortcomings, boiling is the most common means of treating water at home and the benchmark against which emerging point-of-use water treatment approaches are measured. In a 5-month study, we assessed the microbiological effectiveness and cost of the practice among 218 self-reported boilers relying on unprotected water supplies. Boiling was associated with a 99% reduction in geometric mean fecal coliforms (FCs; < 0.001). Despite high levels of fecal contamination in source water, 59.6% of stored drinking water samples from self-reported boilers met the World Health Organization standard for safe drinking water (0 FC/100mL), and 5.7% were between 1 and 10 FC/100 mL. Nevertheless, 40.4% of stored drinking water samples were positive for FCs, with 25.1% exceeding 100 FC/100 mL. The estimated monthly fuel cost for boiling was INR 43.8 (US$0.88) for households using liquid petroleum gas and INR 34.7 (US$0.69) for households using wood.


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  • Received : 02 Feb 2008
  • Accepted : 14 May 2008

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