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Abbott Laboratories
Addressing Water Needs of Company Neighbors and Employees

Abbott Laboratories has found that it can make good business sense to invest in clean drinking water in communities in which the company operates. In Puerto Rico, many rural communities have drinking water systems that fail to meet current standards set by the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act. Poor drinking water quality can undermine health and well being of company neighbors and employees, straining local resources and affecting employee absenteeism and productivity. To address these challenges, Abbott Health Product, Inc. has worked to support local efforts to improve rural drinking water systems.

The Partnership for Pure Water (PPW) was organized in Puerto Rice in 1992 to assist the rural communities that have drinking water systems not served by Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). The Pharmaceutical Industries Association (PIA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the P.R. Health Department and the Corporation for Rural Development compose the consortium. The main objective of the consortium is to improve the quality, operation, and infrastructure of rural drinking water systems to bring them in compliance with current potable water standards.

The consortium identifies communities in need of assistance, and considers their degree of organization, the magnitude of deficiencies of the water system, and the distance from the participating industries. The consortium's work plan from the year 2001 to 2003 has identified 230 water systems serving approximately 100,000 people.

As a member of PPW, Abbott Health Product, Inc. plays an active role the decision-making and operations of the Partnership. Abbott makes annual financial contributions to support the PPW's activities. In addition, the company assists designated communities to upgrade their water systems by providing materials, manpower, and technical assistance. In 2001, Abbott assisted four communities in the municipality of Orocovis, Puerto Rico - Saltos Cabra I & II, Pellejas and Bo. Cacao. Abbott helped these communities to upgrade their drinking water systems by installing chlorination equipment and water level valves and by improving the well water tank areas for sanitation and safety. Abbott is committed to assisting three additional communities in 2002.

Module 1