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Controversy over Virus in Seoul Tap Water

Posted September. 10, 2001 08:41,   


Members of the Grand National Party (GNP) on the National Assembly`s Environment and Labor Committee and Prof. Kim Sang-Jong of Seoul National University announced yesterday that ``according to a survey of 12 areas of Seoul from August 28 to September 5, adenoviruses were discovered in the water at the Han River Park in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul.``

Adenoviruses, a kind of intestinal viruses, is known to cause enteritis, respiratory disease and conjunctivitis (Apollo eye disease).

Prof. Kim said that the rate of virus detection in this survey reached 8.3 percent, which was much higher than 5 percent conducted by the Ministry of Environment in water in the small and medium size cities. ``The survey result is the reverse of the announcement made by the Ministry of Environment, which said that tap water in the large cities including Seoul was safe.`` said Prof. Kim

Prof. Kim also said that ``tap water in 6 out of 12 areas showed a low chlorine concentration below normal standards. This indicates that it lost the function to prevent the spread of waterborne disease.``

However, a Seoul City official said that ``Prof. Kim and his team used an unauthorized genetic detection methods, and the result of this method cannot be trusted because it detects even the dead cells. If the remaining chlorine concentration is found to be low through the reexamination, we will take an immediate measure.``

Song In-Soo issong@donga.com