Safe drinking water

Committed to safe drinking water

IDEXX Water is a global expert in water microbiology testing, providing innovative solutions that ensure the safety of drinking water and other water supplies for over 2 billion people in more than 175 countries around the world. Our water testing technologies are in use on all seven continents and on the International Space Station.

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The importance of safe water for the citizen

Numerous species of the bacteria Legionella exist, but Legionella pneumophila is the most common cause of Legionnaires' disease worldwide, including outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization. Legionella pneumophila causes 97% of the clinical culture confirmed cases reported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (2009–2015).1

The number of reported Legionnaires' disease cases is growing dramatically in Europe according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) . The number of Legionnaires’ disease cases per 100,000 inhabitants grew from 1.2 in 2013 up to 1.8 in 2017, a 60% increase.1 The ECDC reported the highest number of case reports ever in 2017. Legionnaires' disease is fatal in one out of ten cases.2

Reducing disease requires finding and controlling Legionella pneumophila in building water systems, cooling towers, and even distribution water, to reduce the chance of the bacteria multiplying and causing disease when vulnerable individuals breathe moist air.

For these reasons many organizations believe it is important to focus on Legionella pneumophila in order to protect public health across Europe

IDEXX position paper

ECI position paper

FIGAWA position paper

EU legislation and information

The EU Drinking Water Directive sets minimum quality standards for water intended for human consumption (drinking, cooking, other domestic purposes), in order to protect us from contamination.

The legislation aims to further increase tap water quality by tightening the maximum limits for certain pollutants, such as lead (to be reduced by half) and harmful bacteria, and by introducing new caps for the most polluting substances found in tap water. Levels of microplastics will also be monitored. The proposed rules would also increase transparency and provide consumers better access to information.

Drinking water: European Commission website

Next steps

For more information on the legislative process, visit the European Parliament website.

Detecting waterborne bacteria

Protecting human health means controlling a range of waterborne bacteria that can cause sickness or disease
  • E. coli causes abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.
  • Pseudmomas aeruginosa causes rashes, ear infections, and blood infections in immunocompromised people.
  • Enterococci cause various types of infection.
  • Cryptospordium and Giardia cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Who we are

Our purpose


To be a great company that creates exceptional long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by enhancing the health and well-being of pets, people, and livestock.

Over 8,000 employees
More than 175 countries worldwide

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Whether it’s ensuring safe water after devastating natural disasters all across the globe, donating supplies and expertise to educate villages in developing countries, or inspiring school kids to protect their local water sources, IDEXX is lending support to communities worldwide to help ensure access to clean, safe water. With our global reach and partnerships, IDEXX is contributing to the health and quality of life of the communities in which we work and serve, putting our purpose and guiding principles into action.

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  1. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Surveillance Report: Annual Epidemiological Report for 2017: Legionnaires’ Disease. Stockholm, Sweden: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; 2019. Published January 2019. Accessed September 12, 2019.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Legionnaire’s disease. Vital Published June 7, 2016. Accessed September 12, 2019.