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Can you taste it? Taste detection and acceptability thresholds for chlorine residual in drinking water in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Yoshika Crider, Sonia Sultana, Leanne Unicomb, Jennifer Davis, Stephen P. Luby, Amy J. Pickering
Chlorination is a low-cost, effective method for drinking water treatment, but aversion to the taste or smell of chlorinated water can limit use of chlorine treatment products. Forced choice triangle tests were used to evaluate chlorine detection and acceptability thresholds for two common types of chlorine among adults in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where previous studies have found low sustained uptake of chlorine water treatment products. The median detection threshold was 0.70 mg/L (n = 25, SD = 0.57) for water dosed with liquid sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and 0.73 mg/L (n = 25, SD = 0.83) for water dosed with solid sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC). Median acceptability thresholds (based on user report) were 1.16 mg/L (SD = 0.70) for NaOCl and 1.26 mg/L (SD = 0.67) for NaDCC. There was no significant difference in detection or acceptability thresholds for dosing with NaOCl versus NaDCC. Although users are willing to accept treated water in which they can detect the taste of chlorine, their acceptability limit is well below the 2.0 mg/L that chlorine water treatment products are often designed to dose. For some settings, reducing dose may increase adoption of chlorinated water while still providing effective disinfection.