Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water

Public Health Significance

February 2009
More details
  • Publisher
    World Health Organization
  • Published
    18th February 2009
  • ISBN 9789241563550
  • Language English
  • Pages 191 pp.
  • Size 7.75" x 10.25"
  • Images tables & graphs

Can calcium and magnesium (“hardness”) in drinking water contribute to preventing disease? This book documents the outputs of an unprecedented group of experts assembled by the World Health Organization to address this question. It includes their comprehensive consensus view on what is known and what is not about the role and possible health benefit of calcium and magnesium in drinking-water.

Also included is a series of chapters each authored by internationally renowned experts reviewing the state of the art in different aspects including: global dietary calcium and magnesium intakes; the contribution of drinking water to calcium and magnesium intake; health significance of calcium and magnesium; role of drinking-water in relation to bone metabolism; epidemiological studies and the association of cardiovascular disease risks with water hardness and magnesium in particular; water production; technical issues and economics.

In both developed and developing countries, typical diets are often deficient in calcium and magnesium—essential minerals which are necessary for the development of strong bones and teeth, and for cardiovascular function. At the same time, there is evidence that consuming “hard” drinking-water may be associated with reduced risks for some diseases.

Climate change and other ongoing changes will increase the use of high tech treatments—for example desalination and reclamation of polluted waters and mean that the issue will be of increasing future importance.

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
1) Expert Consensus—Meeting of the Experts Report
2) Overview of Global Dietary Calcium and Magnesium Intakes and Allowances—S. A. Atkinson, R. Costello and J. M. Donohue
3) The Mineral Composition of Water and Its Contribution to Calcium and Magnesium Intake—C. N. Ong, A.C. Grandjean and R. P. Heaney
4) Identifying Magnesium Deficiency: A Diagnostic Dilemma—R. J. Elin
5) Magnesium Deficiency: Clinical and Experimental Aspects—w. B. Weglicki
6) Magnesium and Hypertension—R. M. Touyz and B. T. Altura
8) Health Significance of Calcium and Magnesium: Examples From Human Studies—G. F. Combs, Jr. and F. H. Nelson
9) Calcium and Magnesium: Role of Drinking Water in Relation to Bone Metabolism—C. M. Weaver and J. W. Nieves
10) Epidemiological Studies and the Association of Cardiovascular Disease Risks with Water Hardness—R. Calderon and P. Hunter
11) Alternative Hypotheses and Knowledge Gaps—J. K. Fawell
12) Water Production, Technical Issues and Economics—P. Regunathan

World Health Organization

World Health Organization is a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, charged to act as the world's directing and coordinating authority on questions of human health. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.