Siti Farizwana Mohd Ridzwan, Zurahanim Fasha Annual, Mazrura Sahani and Ahmad Rohi Ghazali (2013). Neurobehavioral performance of estate residents with privately-treated water supply. Iranian Journal of Public Health 42(12): 1374-1386
Background: Neurotoxicants present in water supply may affect human functions in terms of attention, response speed and perceptual motor speed. Neurobehavioural performance can be influenced by gender, age and education levels. This study aims to assess the neurobehavioral performance of palm oil estate residents with private water supply in southern Peninsular of Malaysia.
Methods: A total of 287 and 246 participants from estates with private (PWS) and public water supply (PUB) were recruited to complete a demographic and subjective symptom questionnaire followed by the Neurobehavioral Core Test Battery (NCTB).
Results: PWS participants who consumed privately-treated water performed poorly in all NCTB tests compared to PUB participants except for Santa Ana test. Significant group differences in neurobehavioral performance were found for Digit Span Backward (P=0.047), Benton Visual Retention (P=0.006) and Trail Making B tests (P<0.05); which measures the function of memory, attention and visual perception-conceptual. Gender, age and years of education influenced the NCTB scores (P<0.05). Female participants performed poorly in tests measuring latency but excellently tackled those tests that determined association. Younger participants from both PWS and PUB performed better on NCTB tests when compared to other age groups (P<0.05). PWS and PUB participants in this study who received a longer duration of education excelled in the NCTB tests (P=0.000).
Conclusion: Poor neurobehavioral performance is associated with low water supply quality which affects neurofunctions in terms of attention, memory, response and perceptual motor speed.