Drinking Water & Health in Rural Appalachia
We are working on a number of projects to better understand issues related to drinking water (access, quality, use), sanitation, and health in the Appalachia region. In 2020, we started a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis study to identify and synthesize published research on drinking water contamination and associated health outcomes in the Appalachian region over a 20-year time period. We pre-registered our study protocols and completed data extraction and analysis in 2022; we anticipate publishing this work in 2023 (as of the end of 2022 our manuscript was under review). In collaboration with UVA, ETSU, and others, we are also conducting two, small-scale, water-and-health focused prospective cohort studies in southwest VA. In 2022, we published initial findings from one of these studies (focused on a small community in one county), and we anticipate publishing preliminary findings from the other, larger-scale, study (households across two counties) in 2023. Given the relatively high rates of household bottled water use/reliance we observed, we are also conducting an additional study to analyze water quality parameters in bottled water sold in big-box and grocery stores in the region; we also anticipate publishing those findings in 2023.