I am an interdisciplinary global health researcher with a background in environmental engineering and epidemiology. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the King Center on Global Development at Stanford University.
Research and teaching interests: WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene); global health; passive chlorination technologies; interventions against NTDs (neglected tropical diseases); gender equity
Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley, Energy & Resources (2021)
Master of Science, University of California Berkeley, Epidemiology (2021)
Master of Science, Stanford University, CEE-MS (2013)
Bachelor of Science, Stanford University, ENVEN-BSH (2013)
Passive In-Line Chlorination for Drinking Water Disinfection: A Critical Review.
Environmental science & technology
The world is not on track to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 to provide universal access to safely managed drinking water by 2030. Removal of priority microbial contaminants by disinfection is one aspect of ensuring water is safely managed. Passive chlorination (also called in-line chlorination) represents one approach to disinfecting drinking water before or at the point of collection (POC), without requiring daily user input or electricity. In contrast to manual household chlorination methods typically implemented at the point of use (POU), passive chlorinators can reduce the user burden for chlorine dosing and enable treatment at scales ranging from communities to small municipalities. In this review, we synthesized evidence from 27 evaluations of passive chlorinators (in 19 articles, 3 NGO reports, and 5 theses) conducted across 16 countries in communities, schools, health care facilities, and refugee camps. Of the 27 passive chlorinators we identified, the majority (22/27) were solid tablet or granular chlorine dosers, and the remaining devices were liquid chlorine dosers. We identified the following research priorities to address existing barriers to scaled deployment of passive chlorinators: (i) strengthening local chlorine supply chains through decentralized liquid chlorine production, (ii) validating context-specific business models and financial sustainability, (iii) leveraging remote monitoring and sensing tools to monitor real-time chlorine levels and potential system failures, and (iv) designing handpump-compatible passive chlorinators to serve the many communities reliant on handpumps as a primary drinking water source. We also propose a set of reporting indicators for future studies to facilitate standardized evaluations of the technical performance and financial sustainability of passive chlorinators. In addition, we discuss the limitations of chlorine-based disinfection and recognize the importance of addressing chemical contamination in drinking water supplies. Passive chlorinators deployed and managed at-scale have the potential to elevate the quality of existing accessible and available water services to meet "safely managed" requirements.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c08580
View details for PubMedID 35700262
Drinking water chlorination has minor effects on the intestinal flora and resistomes of Bangladeshi children.
Healthy development of the gut microbiome provides long-term health benefits. Children raised in countries with high infectious disease burdens are frequently exposed to diarrhoeal pathogens and antibiotics, which perturb gut microbiome assembly. A recent cluster-randomized trial leveraging >4,000 child observations in Dhaka, Bangladesh, found that automated water chlorination of shared taps effectively reduced child diarrhoea and antibiotic use. In this substudy, we leveraged stool samples collected from 130 children 1 year after chlorine doser installation to examine differences between treatment and control children's gut microbiota. Water chlorination was associated with increased abundance of several bacterial genera previously linked to improved gut health; however, we observed no effects on the overall richness or diversity of taxa. Several clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes were relatively more abundant in the gut microbiome of treatment children, possibly due to increases in Enterobacteriaceae. While further studies on the long-term health impacts of drinking chlorinated water would be valuable, we conclude that access to chlorinated water did not substantially impact child gut microbiome development in this setting, supporting the use of chlorination to increase global access to safe drinking water.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41564-022-01101-3
View details for PubMedID 35422497
Water and Development: A Gender Perspective
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science
View details for DOI 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.685
- Design, performance, and demand for a novel in-line chlorine doser to increase safe water access NPJ CLEAN WATER 2021; 4 (1)
Evaluation of the effects of repeated disinfection on medical exam gloves: Part 1. Changes in physical integrity.
Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene
COVID-19 has created shortages of personal protective equipment. In resource-constrained situations, limited cycles of disinfection and extended use of gloves is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conserve supplies. However, these guidelines are based on limited evidence. In this study, serial cycles of hand hygiene were performed on gloved hands using an ethanol-based hand rub (six and ten cycles), 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution (ten cycles), or soap and water (ten cycles) on latex and nitrile medical exam gloves from the United States and India. A modified water-leak test evaluated glove integrity after repeated applications of these disinfecting agents. When aggregated, dilute bleach demonstrated the lowest difference between treatment and control arms: -2.5 percentage points (95% CI: -5.3 to 0.3) for nitrile, 0.6 percentage points (95% CI: -2.6 to 3.8) for non-powdered latex. For U.S.-purchased gloves tested with six and ten applications of ethanol-based hand rub, the mean difference in failure risk between treatment and control gloves was within the prespecified non-inferiority margin of five percentage points or less, though some findings were inconclusive since outside the margin. The aggregated difference in failure risk between treatment and control was 3.5 percentage points (0.6 to 6.4) for soap and water, and 2.3 percentage points (-0.5 to 5.0) and 5.0 percentage points (1.8 to 8.2) for 10 and 6 applications of ethanol-based hand rub, respectively. Most leaks occurred in the interdigital webs (35%) and on the fingers (34%). This indicates that some combinations of glove types and disinfection methods may allow for extended use. Ten applications of dilute bleach solution had the least impact on glove integrity. However, the majority of glove and exposure combinations were inconclusive. Additional testing of specific glove and disinfectant combinations may inform future strategies to guide extended use during glove shortages. Additional considerations, not evaluated here, include duration of use, disinfectant chemical permeation, and the effects of hand temperature, movement, and manipulation of instruments on glove integrity.
View details for DOI 10.1080/15459624.2021.2015072
View details for PubMedID 34895086
Evaluation of the effects of repeated disinfection on medical exam gloves: Part 2. Changes in mechanical properties.
Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene
Many healthcare professionals have been forced, under acute shortages, to extend medical exam gloves beyond their intended single use. Despite limited available literature, the CDC proposed a set of guidelines for repeated exam gloves use, indicating a maximum number of treatments for three widely available disinfectants. This study examines how these treatments affect the mechanical properties of latex and nitrile gloves. Furthermore, an acceptability threshold is proposed for changes in tensile property, specifically elastic modulus, as an indication of degradation. This proposed criterion was also applied to similar studies available in the literature to determine applicability and aid in recommendation development. Three different latex glove brands and three nitrile brands were exposed to repeated treatments of an alcohol-based hand rub, diluted bleach, or soap and water. Tensile tests of samples cut from untreated and treated gloves were performed to assess the change in elastic modulus induced by each treatment. The findings suggest that latex gloves performed well within the CDC recommended guidelines of six repeated treatments for an ethanol-based hand rub and ten repeated treatments of either dilute bleach or soap and water. Nitrile exam gloves, on the other hand, showed significant changes in elastic modulus, with more inconclusive results among brands. This was especially true for treatment with dilute bleach and soap and water. Further research is needed to investigate the effects of disinfection products on the mechanical integrity of nitrile exam gloves. The results support the use of five repeated treatments of ethanol-based hand rub for nitrile exam gloves, a lower threshold than currently recommended by the CDC. This research also supports that the CDC recommendation of ten repeated treatment with soap and water is appropriate for latex exam gloves, but not for nitrile exam gloves. Occupational safety and health professionals involved in the selection of disposable exam gloves for infection control should consider the compatibility of the glove polymer type with available disinfectants, especially if extended use with repeated disinfection becomes necessary.
View details for DOI 10.1080/15459624.2021.2015073
View details for PubMedID 34895087
Chlorine taste can increase simulated exposure to both fecal contamination and disinfection byproducts in water supplies.
2021; 207: 117806
Expanding drinking water chlorination could substantially reduce the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries, but the taste of chlorinated water often impedes adoption. We developed a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the effect of people's choice to accept or reject drinking water based on chlorine taste and their subsequent exposure to E. coli and trihalomethanes, a class of disinfection byproduct (DBP). The simulation used empirical data from Dhaka, Bangladesh, a megacity with endemic waterborne disease. We drew on published taste acceptability thresholds from Dhaka residents, measured residual chlorine and thermotolerant E. coli inactivation following the addition of six chlorine doses (0.25-3.0mg/L as Cl2) to untreated piped water samples from 100 locations, and analyzed trihalomethane formation in 54 samples. A dose of 0.5mg/L, 75% lower than the 2mg/L dose typically recommended for household chlorination of low-turbidity waters, minimized overall exposure to E. coli. Doses of 1-2mg/L maximized overall exposure to trihalomethanes. Accounting for chlorine taste aversion indicates that microbiological exposure increases and DBP exposure decreases above certain doses as a higher proportion of people reject chlorinated water in favor of untreated water. Taken together with findings from other modeling analyses, empirical studies, and field trials, our results suggest that taste acceptability should be a critical consideration in establishing chlorination dosing guidelines. Particularly when chlorination is first implemented in water supplies with low chlorine demand, lower doses than those generally recommended for household water treatment can help avoid taste-related objections while still meaningfully reducing contaminant exposure.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117806
View details for PubMedID 34768105
Effective Demand for In-Line Chlorination Bundled with Rental Housing in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Environmental science & technology
Delivering safe water in cities of lower- and middle-income countries remains elusive even where there is a piped supply. Passive, in-line chlorination upstream of the point of water collection reduces child diarrhea without the behavior change required for point-of-use water treatment products or manual chlorine dispensers. We conducted a price experiment to measure effective demand (willingness and ability to pay) for an in-line chlorination service using tablet chlorinators among 196 landlords of rental housing properties in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We offered a 12-month subscription using Becker-DeGroot-Marschak auctions with real money payments. The service consistently delivered chlorinated water and satisfied tenants. Landlords' effective demand for in-line chlorination was similar to or greater than that for point-of-use treatment products and manual chlorine dispensers previously documented among Dhaka households. Over the service period, landlords renting to low-income households had lower effective demand than those renting to middle-income households despite similar initial rates of payment across both groups. Making in-line chlorination financially viable for the lowest-income consumers would likely require service cost reductions, subsidies, or both. Our findings suggest that even revealed preference experiments may overestimate the effective demand needed to sustain water supply improvements, especially in low-income populations, if they only measure demand once.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c01308
View details for PubMedID 34498866
Review of the Breathability and Filtration Efficiency of Common Household Materials for Face Masks.
The World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control have recommended universal face masking by the general public to slow the spread of COVID-19. A number of recent studies have evaluated the filtration efficiency and pressure differential (an indicator of breathability) of various, widely available materials that the general public can use to make face masks at home. In this review, we summarize those studies to provide guidance for both the public to select the best materials for face masks and for future researchers to rigorously evaluate and report on mask material testing. Of the tested fabric materials and material combinations with adequate breathability, most single and multilayer combinations had a filtration efficiency of <30%. Most studies evaluating commonly available mask materials did not follow standard methods that would facilitate comparison across studies, and materials were often described with too few details to allow consumers to purchase equivalent materials to make their own masks. To improve the usability of future study results, researchers should use standard methods and report material characteristics in detail.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acsnano.0c10146
View details for PubMedID 33822580
Household finished flooring and soil-transmitted helminth and Giardia infections among children in rural Bangladesh and Kenya: a prospective cohort study.
The Lancet. Global health
2021; 9 (3): e301–e308
Soil-transmitted helminths and Giardia duodenalis are responsible for a large burden of disease globally. In low-resource settings, household finished floors (eg, concrete floors) might reduce transmission of soil-transmitted helminths and G duodenalis.In a prospective cohort of children nested within two randomised trials in rural Bangladesh and Kenya, we estimated associations between household finished flooring and soil-transmitted helminths and G duodenalis prevalence. In 2015-16, we collected stool samples from children aged 2-16 years in rural Bangladesh and Kenya. We detected soil-transmitted helminth infection using quantitative PCR (qPCR; Bangladesh n=2800; Kenya n=3094), and G duodenalis using qPCR in Bangladesh (n=6894) and ELISA in Kenya (n=8899). We estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) using log-linear models adjusted for potential confounders.7187 (92·2%) of 7795 children in Bangladesh and 9077 (93·7%) of 9686 children in Kenya provided stool specimens that were analysed by qPCR. At enrolment, 691 (10%) households in Bangladesh and 471 (5%) households in Kenya had finished floors. In both countries, household finished flooring was associated with lower Ascaris lumbricoides prevalence (Bangladesh aPR 0·33, 95% CI 0·14-0·78; Kenya 0·62, 0·39-0·98) and any soil-transmitted helminths (Bangladesh 0·73, 0·52-1·01; Kenya 0·57, 0·37-0·88). Household finished floors were also associated with lower Necator americanus prevalence in Bangladesh (0·52, 0·29-0·94) and G duodenalis prevalence in both countries (Bangladesh 0·78, 0·64-0·95; Kenya 0·82, 0·70-0·97).In low-resource settings, living in households with finished floors over a 2-year period was associated with lower prevalence of G duodenalis and some soil-transmitted helminths in children.Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Task Force for Global Health.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30523-4
View details for PubMedID 33607029
Effect of Sanitation Improvements on Pathogens and Microbial Source Tracking Markers in the Rural Bangladeshi Household Environment.
Environmental science & technology
Diarrheal illnesses from enteric pathogens are a leading cause of death in children under five in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Sanitation is one way to reduce the spread of enteric pathogens in the environment; however, few studies have investigated the effectiveness of sanitation in rural LMICs in reducing pathogens in the environment. In this study, we measured the impact of a sanitation intervention (dual-pit latrines, sani-scoops, child potties delivered as part of a randomized control trial, WASH Benefits) in rural Bangladeshi household compounds by assessing prevalence ratios, differences, and changes in the concentration of pathogen genes and host-specific fecal markers. We found no difference in the prevalence of pathogenic Escherichia coli, norovirus, or Giardia genes in the domestic environment in the sanitation and control arms. The prevalence of the human fecal marker was lower on child hands and the concentration of animal fecal marker was lower on mother hands in the sanitation arm in adjusted models, but these associations were not significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. In the subset of households with ≥10 individuals per compound, the prevalence of enterotoxigenic E. coli genes on child hands was lower in the sanitation arm. Incomplete removal of child and animal feces or the compound (versus community-wide) scale of intervention could explain the limited impacts of improved sanitation.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b04835
View details for PubMedID 32167305
Sanitation for Low-Income Regions: A Cross-Disciplinary Review.
Annual review of environment and resources
2019; 44 (1): 287-318
Sanitation research focuses primarily on containing human waste and preventing disease; thus, it has traditionally been dominated by the fields of environmental engineering and public health. Over the past 20 years, however, the field has grown broader in scope and deeper in complexity, spanning diverse disciplinary perspectives. In this article, we review the current literature in the range of disciplines engaged with sanitation research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We find that perspectives on what sanitation is, and what sanitation policy should prioritize, vary widely. We show how these diverse perspectives augment the conventional sanitation service chain, a framework describing the flow of waste from capture to disposal. We review how these perspectives can inform progress toward equitable sanitation for all [i.e., Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6]. Our key message is that both material and nonmaterial flows-and both technological and social functions-make up a sanitation "system." The components of the sanitation service chain are embedded within the flows of finance, decision making, and labor that make material flows of waste possible. The functions of capture, storage, transport, treatment, reuse, and disposal are interlinked with those of ensuring equity and affordability. We find that a multilayered understanding of sanitation, with contributions from multiple disciplines, is necessary to facilitate inclusive and robust research toward the goal of sanitation for all.
View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev-environ-101718-033327
View details for PubMedID 32587484
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7316187
Effect of in-line drinking water chlorination at the point of collection on child diarrhoea in urban Bangladesh: a double-blind, cluster-randomised controlled trial.
The Lancet. Global health
2019; 7 (9): e1247–e1256
BACKGROUND: Previous blinded trials of household water treatment interventions in low-income settings have failed to detect a reduction in child diarrhoea. Technological advances have enabled the development of automated in-line chlorine dosers that can disinfect drinking water without electricity, while also allowing users to continue their typical water collection practices. We aimed to evaluate the effect of installing novel passive chlorination devices at shared water points on child diarrhoea prevalence in low-income, densely populated communities in urban Bangladesh.METHODS: In this double-blind cluster-randomised controlled trial, 100 shared water points (clusters) in two low-income urban communities in Bangladesh were randomly assigned (1:1) to have their drinking water automatically chlorinated at the point of collection by a solid tablet chlorine doser (intervention group) or to be treated by a visually identical doser that supplied vitamin C (active control group). The trial followed an open cohort design; all children younger than 5 years residing in households accessing enrolled water points were measured every 2-3 months during a 14-month follow-up period (children could migrate into or out of the cluster). The primary outcome was caregiver-reported child diarrhoea (≥3 loose or watery stools in a 24-h period [WHO criteria]) with a 1-week recall, including all available childhood observations in the analyses. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02606981, and is completed.FINDINGS: Between July 5, 2015, and Nov 11, 2015, 100 water points with 920 eligible households were enrolled into the study and randomly assigned to the treatment (50 water points; 517 children at baseline; 2073 child observations included in the primary analysis) or control groups (50; 519; 2154). Children in the treatment group had less WHO-defined diarrhoea than did children in the control group (control 216 [10·0%] of 2154; treatment 156 [7·5%] of 2073; prevalence ratio 0·77, 95% CI 0·65-0·91). Drinking water at the point of collection at treatment taps had detectable free chlorine residual 83% (mean 0·37 ppm) of the time compared with 0% at control taps (0·00 ppm).INTERPRETATION: Passive chlorination at the point of collection could be an effective and scalable strategy in low-income urban settings for reducing child diarrhoea and for achieving global progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 to attain universal access to safe and affordable drinking water. Targeting a low chlorine residual (<0·5 ppm) in treated water can increase taste acceptability of chlorinated drinking water while still reducing the risk of diarrhoea.FUNDING: The World Bank.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30315-8
View details for PubMedID 31402005
Can you taste it? Taste detection and acceptability thresholds for chlorine residual in drinking water in Dhaka, Bangladesh
SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT
2018; 613: 840–46
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 0.70mg/L (n=25, SD=0.57) for water dosed with liquid sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and 0.73mg/L (n=25, SD=0.83) for water dosed with solid sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC). Median acceptability thresholds (based on user report) were 1.16mg/L (SD=0.70) for NaOCl and 1.26mg/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 2.0mg/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.
View details for PubMedID 28942317
- Field trial of an automated batch chlorinator system at shared water points in an urban community of Dhaka, Bangladesh JOURNAL OF WATER SANITATION AND HYGIENE FOR DEVELOPMENT 2016; 6 (1): 32-41
Differences in Field Effectiveness and Adoption between a Novel Automated Chlorination System and Household Manual Chlorination of Drinking Water in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
2015; 10 (3): e0118397
The number of people served by networked systems that supply intermittent and contaminated drinking water is increasing. In these settings, centralized water treatment is ineffective, while household-level water treatment technologies have not been brought to scale. This study compares a novel low-cost technology designed to passively (automatically) dispense chlorine at shared handpumps with a household-level intervention providing water disinfection tablets (Aquatab), safe water storage containers, and behavior promotion. Twenty compounds were enrolled in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and randomly assigned to one of three groups: passive chlorinator, Aquatabs, or control. Over a 10-month intervention period, the mean percentage of households whose stored drinking water had detectable total chlorine was 75% in compounds with access to the passive chlorinator, 72% in compounds receiving Aquatabs, and 6% in control compounds. Both interventions also significantly improved microbial water quality. Aquatabs usage fell by 50% after behavioral promotion visits concluded, suggesting intensive promotion is necessary for sustained uptake. The study findings suggest high potential for an automated decentralized water treatment system to increase consistent access to clean water in low-income urban communities.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0118397
View details for PubMedID 25734448
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4348460