Lack of Quality Water in Costa Rican Homes Concerns Nutritionists - Expat Community

Lack of Quality Water in Costa Rican Homes Concerns Nutritionists

Apr 8, 2024 | Costa Rica, News & Articles | 0 comments

By Irene Rodríguez

The College of Nutrition Professionals warns that the shortage of water not only compromises hydration but also proper food handling and increases the risk of diseases.

Nutritionists Concerned about Lack of Potable Water:
The lack of potable water due to rationing as well as the supply of contaminated liquid in some areas puts the health of Costa Ricans at risk, said the College of Nutrition Professionals (CPN) on Monday.

The first concern of these professionals is that due to the lack of liquid, people may not be able to hydrate properly, as not everyone can afford to buy bottled water. In addition, the high temperatures experienced in the country demand greater and better hydration, which is affected by water cuts or the provision of contaminated water.

The shortage of water also increases the risk that those who can allocate part of their money to hydration opt for soft drinks that may have high amounts of sugar and empty calories (which do not provide nutrients).

However, the greatest concern arises around food handling and the risk of diseases. Without proper hygiene, the good condition of the food cannot be guaranteed. Water is required for proper handwashing and cleaning of kitchen utensils, as well as fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients for meals.

“By not having quality liquid to prepare food correctly, access to adequate and complete nutrition is limited, which is the basis for good nutritional status,” said Marcela Dumani, spokesperson for the CPN.

If people do not have water, she added, they could also buy more ultra-processed foods, with higher amounts of sodium, colorants, preservatives, fats, and sugars, “thus enhancing or worsening chronic diseases,” cite the nutritionists.

It is also concerning that many households receive water with turbid colors or bad odors, which may not be potable.

“Water can become a vehicle that transports microorganisms, bacteria, or viruses that cause gastrointestinal ailments such as stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and other related symptoms such as fever or headache,” said Mally Vásquez, representative of the CPN.

Residents of Calle Roble and Calle Cementerio in San Juan de Dios de Desamparados report strange odors in the water, so AyA advises against using water for human consumption, animal use, food preparation, or personal hygiene.
Water rationing or its shortage hinders proper hydration and good food handling, according to the College of Nutrition Professionals. (Eduardo Vega Arguijo)

The CPN provides the following recommendations regarding the water situation:

1. Allocate separate containers for water use: consumption, handwashing, and other household chores.
2. Containers intended for storing water for consumption must be properly disinfected. Those that have contained chemical substances should be avoided.
3. You can include ice (under suitable safety conditions) in water intended for consumption, this will keep it at a more pleasant temperature for consumption.
4. Ensure that the water used to ingest medications is potable.
5. Water containers should be kept tightly closed, especially if there are pets in the household. This will also prevent contamination by insects. Or it will prevent the formation of dengue breeding sites.
6. If there is any doubt about the origin of the water, it should be boiled for at least 15 minutes to ensure that any organisms living in it are killed.
7. Do not store the liquid for too long. Water that remains in this condition for a long time should not be consumed because it can absorb substances from the containers containing it.
8. Do not waste reserved water. If there is any leftover, it can be used to fill the toilet or washing machine tank or to water plants, among other uses.
9. Strengthen handwashing or use of hand sanitizer.
10. Cook meats or vegetables well to eliminate the presence of microorganisms.


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