Water in brass vessels good for health

Microbiologists say that water stored in brass containers could help combat many water-borne diseases.

| Updated on: Apr 11 2005, 12:05 IST

Ancient Indian wisdom that drinking water should be stored in brass vessels for good health has now been proved scientifically by researchers.

Microbiologists say that water stored in brass containers could help combat many water-borne diseases and should be used in developing countries rather than their cheaper alternatives, plastic containers, researchers said.

Water-borne diseases remain a serious threat in many poor regions of the world, with around 2 million children dying each year from diarrhoea. Efforts to provide safe drinking water have had difficulty reaching remote areas.

Even in places with basic water-purification systems, people often opt for riskier wells under trees because the water is cooler, Rob Reed, who led the brass study, was quoted by Nature magazine as saying.

It said on a recent trip to India, Reed, a microbiologist at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, witnessed villagers doing exactly this.

But he also heard an interesting piece of local wisdom: people believe that traditional brass water containers offer some protection against sickness. The idea, Nature added, intrigued Reed, who was in Asia investigating the anti-bacterial effects of sunlight on water.

He has now found that bacteria are indeed less likely to thrive in brass water pots than in earthenware or plastic ones. 'It's one of the traditional ideas of water treatment and we were able to find a microbiological basis for it,' he was quoted as saying.

Reed, with his colleagues Puja Tandon and Sanjay Chhibber, carried out two series of experiments, Nature reported.

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First Published Date: 11 Apr, 12:05 IST