Last edited 13 Sep 2021


Water safety in buildings, published by the World Health Organization in 2011, defines disinfectant as: ‘An agent that destroys or inactivates harmful microorganisms (Symons et al., 2000).’

It defines disinfection as:

  • ‘The supply of safe drinking-water through the destruction of microbial pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoa), involving reactive chemical agents. It is used for surface waters and for groundwater subject to faecal contamination (WHO, 2008).
  • ‘The procedure whereby health measures are taken to control or kill the insect vectors of human diseases present in baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods and postal parcels (WHO, 2005).
  • ‘The process of destroying or inactivating pathogenic organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa) by either chemical or physical means (Symons et al., 2000).’

It defines disinfection by-product as: ‘The formation of chemical by-products (inorganic or organic) that results from the use of chemical disinfectants in water treatment (WHO, 2008).'

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