Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Byproduct of water-disinfection process found to be highly toxic

16.09.2004


A recently discovered disinfection byproduct (DBP) found in U.S. drinking water treated with chloramines is the most toxic ever found, says a scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who tested samples on mammalian cells.

The discovery raises health-related questions regarding an Environmental Protection Agency plan to encourage all U.S. water-treatment facilities to adopt chlorine alternatives, said Michael J. Plewa [PLEV-uh], a genetic toxicologist in the department of crop sciences. "This research says that when you go to alternatives, you may be opening a Pandora’s box of new DBPs, and these unregulated DBPs may be much more toxic, by orders of magnitude, than the regulated ones we are trying to avoid."

Plewa and colleagues, three of them with the EPA, report on the structure and toxicity of five iodoacids [EYE O-doe-acids] found in chloramines-treated water in Corpus Christi, Texas, in this month’s issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The findings, which appeared online in advance, already have prompted a call from the National Rural Water Association for a delay of EPA’s Stage 2 rule aimed at reducing the amount of previously identified toxic DBPs occurring in chlorine-treated water. "The iodoacids may be the most toxic family of DBPs to date," Plewa said in an interview. One of the five detailed in the study, iodoacetic acid, is the most toxic and DNA-damaging to mammalian cells in tests of known DBPs, he said. "These iodoacetic acids raise new levels of concerns," he said. "Not only do they represent a potential danger because of all the water consumed on a daily basis, water is recycled back into the environment. What are the consequences? The goal of Stage 2 is to reduce DBPs, particularly the ones that fall under EPA regulations, and especially the ones that have been structurally identified and found to be toxic."



The use of chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is one of three alternatives to chlorine disinfectant, which has been used for more than 100 years. Other alternatives are chlorine-dioxide and ozone. All treatments react to compounds present in a drinking water source, resulting in a variety of chemical disinfectant byproducts.

Some 600 DBPs have been identified since 1974, Plewa said. Scientists believe they’ve identified maybe 50 percent of all DBPs that occur in chlorine-treated water, but only 17 percent of those occurring in chloramines-treated water, 28 percent in water treated with chlorine-dioxide, and just 8 percent in ozone-treated water. Of the structurally identified DBPs, he said, the quantitative toxicity is known for maybe 30 percent. Some DBPs in chlorine-treated water have been found to raise the risks of various cancers, as well as birth and developmental defects.

Corpus Christi’s water supply has high levels of bromide and iodide because of the chemical makeup of the ancient seabed under the water source. Local water sources lead to different DBPs. Whether the types of iodoacids found in Corpus Christi’s treated water might be simply a reflection of local conditions, and thus a rare occurrence, is not known. The DBPs in Corpus Christi’s water were found as part of an EPA national occurrence survey of selected public water-treatment plants done in 2002. The survey reported on the presence of 50 high-priority DBPs based on their carcinogenic potential. The report, published in April, also identified 28 new DBPs.

Because so many new DBPs are being found in drinking water, Plewa said, two basic questions should be asked: How many are out there? And how many new ones will be formed as chlorine treatments are replaced with alternative methods?

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>