John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Tap water consumption in France: Results from the INCA1 diet survey Volume 2, issue 3, Mai 2003


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Institut de veille sanitaire, 12 rue du Val d‘Osne, 94415 Saint‐Maurice Cedex . Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments, 27‐31, avenue du général Leclerc, BP 19 94701 Maisons‐Alfort
  • Key words: diet surveys; drinking; water intake; France; reference values.
  • Page(s) : 147-58
  • Published in: 2003

The INCA1 diet survey carried out in 1999 among a representative sample of 3,000 French residents is the only source of data on the use of tap water for drinking in France. We distinguish here between the consumption of cold water, to be taken into account for microbial exposure assessments, and the consumption of total water (cold plus heated water), considered in toxic exposure assessments. The paper deals with water consumption and its relation to available covariates: weight, age, gender, social status, location, population density and other types of beverage consumption. The annexed tables report the values for intake by sex, age and region, including the statistical distribution models that best fit the data. The study shows that tap water intake is lower than that reported in studies conducted abroad or in specific areas in France. Thirty per cent of the French population say they do not drink tap water except when heated for tea or coffee. Average consumption among those who do drink it (69% of the population) is only 0.4 L per day. Only 6% of the population uses neither cold nor heated tap water, and the average consumption for users is 0.5 L per day. Consumption levels vary dramatically by region and by age. The absence of information about the effect of water quality on consumption behaviour limits the relevance of these data, which should not be used for very small‐scale studies or for exceptional circumstances, such as epidemics or water pollution.