Regulatory limits of Chemicals in Drinking Water

Given the number of chemicals in the environment and people’s variability in exposure and susceptibility to harm, it’s a daunting challenge to catalog all possible drinking water contaminants and assess their associated health risks. But after reviewing the state of the science and the data gaps surrounding drinking water contaminants, a team of authors presents in this issue of EHP an ambitious roadmap to help future studies identify and elucidate risks presented by specific contaminants.

Although microbial agents are the largest cause of waterborne diseases worldwide, chemical contaminants in drinking water have been associated with a broad array of adverse health effects, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, and miscarriage.

Some contaminants enter water through leaching, accidental spills, runoff, and atmospheric deposition. Others, such as disinfection by-products and lead, are introduced during treatment or even at the tap.

Assessing Exposure and Health Consequences of Chemicals in Drinking Water
(Environmental Health Perspectives ) – MARCH 2014
Regulatory limits [μg/L (except for asbestos)] for chemicals in drinking water established by the WHO (2011), the U.S. EPA (2009), and the EU Council (1998).
Chemical WHO U.S. EPA EU Chemical group
DBP, disinfection by-product.
aEach water system must certify annually that when it uses acrylamide and/or epichlorohydrin to treat water, the combination of dose and monomer level does not exceed the ­levels specified, as follows: acrylamide = 0.05% dosed at 1 mg/L (or equivalent); epichlorohydrin = 0.01% dosed at 20 mg/L (or equivalent).bIncludes its chloro-s-triazine metabolites. ­cIncludes the sum of monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid, and dibromoacetic acid.
Acrylamide 0.5 a 0.1 Organic
Alachlor 20 2 Organic
Aldicarb 10 Organic
Aldrin + dieldrin 0.03 Organic
Antimony 20 6 5.0 Inorganic
Arsenic 10 10 10 Inorganic
Asbestos (million fibers >10 μm per liter) 7 Inorganic
Atrazine 100b 3 Organic
Barium 700 2,000 Inorganic
Benzene 10 5 1.0 Organic
Benzo[a]pyrene 0.7 0.2 0.010 Organic
Berylium 4 Inorganic
Boron 2,400 1,000 Inorganic
Bromate 10 10 10 DBP
Bromodichloromethane 60 DBP
Bromoform 100 DBP
Cadmium 3 5 5.0 Inorganic
Carbofuran 7 40 Organic
Carbon tetrachloride 4 5 Organic
Chloramines (as Cl2) 4,000 Disinfectant
Chlorate 700 DBP
Chlordane 0.2 2 Organic
Chlorine 5,000 4,000 Disinfectant
Chlorine dioxide 800 Disinfectant
Chlorite 700 1,000 DBP
Chlorobenzene 100 Organic
Chloroform 300 DBP
Chlorotoluron 30 Organic
Chlorpyrifos 30 Organic
Chromium (total) 50 100 50 Inorganic
Copper 2,000 13,000 2,000 Inorganic
Cyanazine 0.6 Organic
Cyanide 200 50 Inorganic
2,4-D (dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) 30 70 Organic
Dalapon 200 Organic
2,4-DB (dichlorofenoxybutyric acid) 90 Organic
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and metabolites 1 Organic
Dibromochloromethane 100 DBP
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) 1 0.2 Organic
1,2-Dibromoethane 0.4 Organic
Dichloroacetate 50 DBP
Dichloroacetonitrile 20 DBP
1,2-Dichlorobenzene (o-dichlorobenzene) 1,000 600 Organic
1,4-Dichlorobenzene (p-dichlorobenzene) 300 75 Organic
1,2-Dichloroethane 30 5 3.0 Organic
1,2-Dichloroethene 50 Organic
1,1-Dichloroethylene 7 Organic
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene 70 Organic
trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene 100 Organic
Dichloromethane 20 5 Organic
1,2-Dichloropropane 40 5 Organic
1,3-Dichloropropene 20 Organic
Dichlorprop 100 Organic
Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate 400 Organic
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phtalate 8 6 Organic
Dimethoate 6 Organic
Dinoseb 7 Organic
1,4-Dioxane 50 Organic
Dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) 0.00003 Organic
Diquat 20 Organic
Edetic acid 600 Organic
Endothall 100 Organic
Endrin 0.6 2 Organic
Epichlorohydrin 0.4 a 0.10 Organic
Ethylbenzene 300 700 Organic
Ethylene dibromide 0.05 Organic
Fenoprop/Silvex/2,4,5-TP/2-(2,4,5- trichlorophenoxy)propionic acid 9 50 Organic
Fluoride 1,500 4,000 1,500 Inorganic
Glyphosate 700 Organic
Haloacetic acids (HAAs)c 60 DBP
Heptachlor 0.4 Organic
Heptachlor epoxide 0.2 Organic
Hexachlorobenzene 1 Organic
Hexachlorobutadiene 0.6 Organic
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene 50 Organic
Hydroxyatrazine 200 Organic
Isoproturon 9 Organic
Lead 10 15 10 Inorganic
Lindane 2 0.2 Organic
Mecoprop 10 Organic
Mercury 6 2 1.0 Inorganic
4-(2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxy) acetic acid (MCPA) 2 Organic
Methoxyclor 20 40 Organic
Metolachlor 10 Organic
Microcystin-LR 1 Algal toxin
Molinate 6 Organic
Monochloramine 3,000 Disinfectant
Monochloroacetate 20 DBP
Nickel 70 20 Inorganic
Nitrate 50,000 45,000 50,000 Inorganic
Nitrilotriacetic acid 200 Organic
Nitrite 3,000 4,500 500 Inorganic
N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) 0.1 DBP
Oxamyl (Vydate®) 200 Organic
Pendimethalin 20 Organic
Pentachlorophenol 9 1 Organic
Pesticides 0.10 Organic
Pesticides (total) 0.50 Organic
Picloram 500 Organic
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) 0.5 Organic
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 0.10 Organic
Selenium 40 50 10 Inorganic
Simazine 2 4 Organic
Sodium dichloroisocyanurate/cyanuric acid 50,000/40,000 Disinfectant
Styrene 20 100 Organic
Tertbutylazine 7 Organic
Tetrachloroethene (tetrachloroethylene) 40 5 Organic
Tetrachloroethylene + trichloroethylene 10 Organic
Thallium 2 Inorganic
Toluene 700 1,000 Organic
Toxaphene 3 Organic
Trichloroacetate 200 DBP
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 70 Organic
1,1,1-Trichloroethane 200 Organic
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 5 Organic
Trichloroethene/trichloroethylene 20 5 Organic
2,4,6-Trichlorophenol 200 Organic
2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid) 9 Organic
Trifluralin 20 Organic
Trihalomethanes (total) 80 100 DBP
Vinyl chloride 0.3 2 0.50 Organic
Xylenes 500 10,000 Organic
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