4: POLLUTANTS FOUND IN WATER

 

The following data is a list of pollutants which are found in some water supplies. The first table is a breakdown of chemicals you may find in water taken from a river. The table is based on an analysis of treated drinking-water drawn from the river Severn in 1994.

 

Key to Organisations:

 

IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer
WHO, World Health Organisation
USEPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency

 

Pollutants found in water supplies.
Name Type Observations - see footnote. Organisation
Trifluralin herbicide possibly carcinogenic to humans USEPA
Cypermethrin insecticide possibly carcinogenic to humans USEPA
moderately hazardous WHO
Chlorothalonil fungicide probably carcinogenic to human USEPA
Propriconazole fungicide moderately hazardous WHO
MCPA herbicide slightly hazardous WHO
possibly carcinogenic to humans IARC
probably carcinogenic to humans USEPA
Ioxynil herbicide moderately hazardous WHO
Bromoxynil herbicide moderately hazardous WHO
2, 4 DB herbicide slightly hazardous WHO
* 2, 4 D herbicide moderately hazardous WHO
possibly carcinogenic to humans IARC
* 2,4,5 T (TCPA) herbicide moderately hazardous WHO
possibly carcinogenic to humans USEPA
Dichlorprop herbicide slightly hazardous WHO
MCPB herbicide slightly hazardous WHO
2, 3, 6 TBA = slightly hazardous WHO
Atrazine herbicide possibly carcinogenic to humans USEPA
Terbutryn(e) = possibly carcinogenic to humans USEPA
Permethrin insecticide moderately hazardous WHO
Cyfluthrin = moderately hazardous WHO
Isoproturon herbicide slightly hazardous WHO
Linuron = slightly hazardous WHO
Difenzoquat = moderately hazardous WHO
EPTC = moderately hazardous WHO
Triadimefon fungicide slightly hazardous WHO
Flutriafol = slightly hazardous WHO

 

Other chemicals found in water;-
Aldrin, Dieldrin
Endrin
Tecnazine
Hexachlorobenzene
Fenpropimorph
Dichlobenil
Propyzamide Simazine
Prometryne
Trietazine
Propazine
Diuron
Carbetamide
Carbendazim Flucofuron
Sulcofuron
Diflubenzuron
Methabenzthiuron
Iprodione
Cloptralid
Fluroxyper

 

* 2, 4 D and 2, 4, 5 T combined make 'Agent Orange'. This was used in the Vietnam war as a defoliant but some of the military personel handling Agent Orange either developed cancer or fathered deformed babies ( blamed on the chemical's dioxin content ).

 

Footnote: Observations are based on findings reported in the book, "P IS FOR Pesticides" (1991).

 

World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines - as of November 2000
Tables of guideline values

 

Summary tables extracted from - Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd ed.
Vol. 2 Health criteria and other supporting information, 1996 (pp. 940-949) and Addendum to Vol. 2 . 1998 (pp. 281-283) Geneva, World Health Organization.

 

Table 1. Bacteriological quality of drinking-water [a]

 

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/GDWQ/Microbiology/microbiological_aspects.htm


Organisms Guideline value

 

All water intended for drinking
E. coli or thermotolerant coliform bacteriab,c Must not be detectable in any 100-ml sampleTreated water entering the distribution system E. coli or thermotolerant coliform bacteriab Must not be detectable in any 100-ml sample

 

Total coliform bacteria Must not be detectable in any 100-ml sample

 

Treated water in the distribution system E. coli or thermotolerant coliform bacteriab Must not be detectable in any 100-ml sample

 

Total coliform bacteria Must not be detectable in any 100-ml sample. In the case of large supplies, where sufficient samples are examined, must not be present in 95% of samples taken throughout any 12-month period

 

a Immediate investigative action must be taken if either E. coli or total coliform bacteria are detected. The minimal action in the case of total coliform bacteria is repeat sampling; if these bacteria are detected in the repeat sample, the cause must be determined by immediate further investigation.

 

b Although E. coli is the more precise indicator of faecal pollution, the count of thermotolerant coliform bacteria is an acceptable alternative. If necessary, proper confirmatory tests must be carried out. Total coliform bacteria are not acceptable indicators of the sanitary quality of rural water supplies, particularly in tropical areas where many bacteria of no sanitary significance occur in almost all untreated supplies.

 

c It is recognized that, in the great majority of rural water supplies in developing countries, faecal contamination is widespread. Under these conditions, the national surveillance agency should set medium-term targets for the progressive improvement of water supplies, as recommended in Volume 3 of Guidelines for drinking-water quality.

 

Table 2. Chemicals of health significance in drinking-water 2A. Inorganic constituents

 

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/GDWQ/Chemicals/Chemlist.html
Guideline value (mg/litre) Remarks
antimony 0.005 (P)a
arsenic 0.01b (P) For excess skin cancer risk of 6 × 10-4
barium 0.7
beryllium NADc
boron 0.5 (P)
cadmium 0.003
chromium 0.05 (P)
copper 2 (P) Based on acute gastrointestinal effects
cyanide 0.07
fluoride 1.5 Climatic conditions, volume of water consumed, and intake from other sources should be considered when setting national standards
lead 0.01 It is recognized that not all water will meet the guideline value immediately; meanwhile, all other recommended measures to reduce the total exposure to lead should be implemented
manganese 0.5 (P) ATOd
mercury (total) 0.001
molybdenum 0.07
nickel 0.02 (P)
nitrate (as NO3-) 50 (acute)
nitrite (as NO2-) 3 (acute)

0.2 (P) (chronic)
selenium 0.01
uranium 0.002 (P)

 

WHO data on Fluoride. History | Health criteria and other supporting information

 

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/GDWQ/Chemicals/fluoridefull.htm

 

Summary information extracted from:

 

Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd ed.


Vol. 1. Recommendations.

 

Geneva, World Health Organization, 1993. p. 47.

 

Fluorine accounts for about 0.3 g/kg of the earth's crust. Inorganic fluorine compounds are used in the production of aluminium, and fluoride is released during the manufacture and use of phosphate fertilizers, which contain up to 4% fluorine.

 

Levels of daily exposure to fluoride depend on the geographical area. If diets contain fish and tea, exposure via food may be particularly high. In specific areas, other foods and indoor air pollution may contribute considerably to total exposure. Additional intake may result from the use of fluoride toothpastes.

 

Exposure to fluoride from drinking-water depends greatly on natural circumstances. Levels in raw water are normally below 1.5 mg/litre, but ground water may contain about 10 mg/litre in areas rich in fluoride-containing minerals. Fluoride is sometimes added to drinking-water to prevent dental caries.

 

Soluble fluorides are rapidly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract after intake in drinking-water.

 

In 1987, IARC classified inorganic fluorides in Group 3. Although there was equivocal evidence of carcinogenicity in one study in male rats, extensive epidemiological studies have shown no evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.

 

There is no evidence to suggest that the guideline value of 1.5 mg/litre set in 1984 needs to be revised. Concentrations above this value carry an increasing risk of dental fluorosis, and much higher concentrations lead to skeletal fluorosis. The value is higher than that recommended for artificial fluoridation of water supplies. In setting national standards for fluoride, it is particularly important to consider climatic conditions, volumes of water intake, and intake of fluoride from other sources (e.g., food, air). In areas with high natural fluoride levels, it is recognized that the guideline value may be difficult to achieve in some circumstances with the treatment technology available.

 

2B. Organic constituents
Guideline value (µg/litre) Remarks
Chlorinated alkanes
carbon tetrachloride 2
dichloromethane 20
1,1-dichloroethane NAD
1,2-dichloroethane 30b For excess risk of 10-5
1,1,1-trichloroethane 2000 (P)
Chlorinated ethenes
vinyl chloride 5b For excess risk of 10-5
1,1-dichloroethene 30
1,2-dichloroethene 50
trichloroethene 70 (P)
tetrachloroethene 40
Aromatic hydrocarbons
benzene 10b For excess risk of 10-5
toluene 700 ATO
xylenes 500 ATO
ethylbenzene 300 ATO
styrene 20 ATO
benzo[a]pyrene 0.7b For excess risk of 10-5
Chlorinated benzenes
monochlorobenzene 300 ATO
1,2-dichlorobenzene 1000 ATO
1,3-dichlorobenzene NAD
1,4-dichlorobenzene 300 ATO
trichlorobenzenes (total) 20 ATO
Miscellaneous
di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate 80
di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate 8
acrylamide 0.5b For excess risk of 10-5
epichlorohydrin 0.4 (P)
hexachlorobutadiene 0.6
edetic acid (EDTA) 600 Applies to the free acid
nitrilotriacetic acid 200
dialkyltins NAD
tributyltin oxide 2
microcystin-LR 1 (P) Applies to total microcystin-LR (free plus cell-bound)

 

a (P) — Provisional guideline value. This term is used for constituents for which there is some evidence of a potential hazard but where the available information on health effects is limited; or where an uncertainty factor greater than 1000 has been used in the derivation of the tolerable daily intake (TDI). Provisional guideline values are also recommended: (1) for substances for which the calculated guideline value would be below the practical quantification level, or below the level that can be achieved through practical treatment methods; or (2) where disinfection is likely to result in the guideline value being exceeded.

 

b For substances that are considered to be carcinogenic, the guideline value is the concentration in drinking-water associated with an excess lifetime cancer risk of 10-5 (one additional cancer per 100 000 of the population ingesting drinking-water containing the substance at the guideline value for 70 years). Concentrations associated with estimated excess lifetime cancer risks of 10-4 and 10-6 can be calculated by multiplying and dividing, respectively, the guideline value by 10.

 

In cases in which the concentration associated with an excess lifetime cancer risk of 10-5 is not feasible as a result of inadequate analytical or treatment technology, a provisional guideline value is recommended at a practicable level and the estimated associated excess lifetime cancer risk presented.

 

It should be emphasized that the guideline values for carcinogenic substances have been computed from hypothetical mathematical models that cannot be verified experimentally and that the values should be interpreted differently from TDI-based values because of the lack of precision of the models. At best, these values must be regarded as rough estimates of cancer risk. However, the models used are conservative and probably err on the side of caution. Moderate short-term exposure to levels exceeding the guideline value for carcinogens does not significantly affect the risk.

 

c NAD — No adequate data to permit recommendation of a health-based guideline value.

 

d ATO — Concentrations of the substance at or below the health-based guideline value may affect the appearance, taste, or odor of the water.

 

F04b: POLLUTANTS FOUND IN WATER -

 

Table 2. Chemicals of health significance in drinking-water.

 

2C. Pesticides
Guideline value (µg/litre) Remarks
alachlor 20b For excess risk of 10-5
aldicarb 10
aldrin/dieldrin 0.03
atrazine 2
bentazone 300
carbofuran 7
chlordane 0.2
chlorotoluron 30
cyanazine 0.6
DDT 2
1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane 1b For excess risk of 10-5
1,2-dibromoethane 0.4–15b (P) For excess risk of 10-5
2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) 30
1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP) 40 (P)
1,3-dichloropropane NAD
1,3-dichloropropene 20b For excess risk of 10-5
diquat 10 (P)
heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide 0.03
hexachlorobenzene 1b For excess risk of 10-5
isoproturon 9
lindane 2
MCPA 2
methoxychlor 20
metolachlor 10
molinate 6
pendimethalin 20
pentachlorophenol 9b (P) For excess risk of 10-5
permethrin 20
propanil 20
pyridate 100
simazine 2
terbuthylazine (TBA) 7
trifluralin 20
Chlorophenoxy herbicides other than 2,4-D and MCPA
2,4-DB 90
dichlorprop 100
fenoprop 9
MCPB NAD
mecoprop 10
2,4,5-T 9

 

2D. Disinfectants and disinfectant by-products.
Disinfectants Guideline value (mg/litre) Remarks
monochloramine 3
di- and trichloramine NAD
chlorine 5 ATO. For effective disinfection there should be a residual concentration of free chlorine of =0.5 mg/litre after at least 30 minutes contact time at pH <8.0
chlorine dioxide A guideline value has not been established because of the rapid breakdown of chlorine dioxide and because the chlorite guideline value is adequately protective for potential toxicity from chlorine dioxide
iodine NAD
Disinfectant by-products Guideline value (µg/litre) Remarks
bromate 25b (P) For 7 × 10-5 excess risk
chlorate NAD
chlorite 200 (P)
Chlorophenols
2-chlorophenol NAD
2,4-dichlorophenol NAD
2,4,6-trichlorophenol 200b For excess risk of 10-5, ATO
formaldehyde 900
MX NAD
trihalomethanes The sum of the ratio of the concentration of each to its respective guideline value should not exceed 1
bromoform 100
dibromochloromethane 100
bromodichloromethane 60b For excess risk of 10-5
chloroform 200
Chlorinated acetic acids
monochloroacetic acid NAD
dichloroacetic acid 50 (P)
trichloroacetic acid 100 (P)
chloral hydrate (trichloroacetaldehyde) 10 (P)
chloroacetone NAD
Halogenated acetonitriles
dichloroacetonitrile 90 (P)
dibromoacetonitrile 100 (P)
bromochloroacetonitrile NAD
trichloroacetonitrile 1 (P)
cyanogen chloride (as CN) 70
chloropicrin NAD

 

a (P) — Provisional guideline value. This term is used for constituents for which there is some evidence of a potential hazard but where the available information on health effects is limited; or where an uncertainty factor greater than 1000 has been used in the derivation of the tolerable daily intake (TDI). Provisional guideline values are also recommended: (1) for substances for which the calculated guideline value would be below the practical quantification level, or below the level that can be achieved through practical treatment methods; or (2) where disinfection is likely to result in the guideline value being exceeded.

 

b For substances that are considered to be carcinogenic, the guideline value is the concentration in drinking-water associated with an excess lifetime cancer risk of 10-5 (one additional cancer per 100 000 of the population ingesting drinking-water containing the substance at the guideline value for 70 years). Concentrations associated with estimated excess lifetime cancer risks of 10-4 and 10-6 can be calculated by multiplying and dividing, respectively, the guideline value by 10.

 

In cases in which the concentration associated with an excess lifetime cancer risk of 10-5 is not feasible as a result of inadequate analytical or treatment technology, a provisional guideline value is recommended at a practicable level and the estimated associated excess lifetime cancer risk presented.

 

It should be emphasized that the guideline values for carcinogenic substances have been computed from hypothetical mathematical models that cannot be verified experimentally and that the values should be interpreted differently from TDI-based values because of the lack of precision of the models. At best, these values must be regarded as rough estimates of cancer risk. However, the models used are conservative and probably err on the side of caution. Moderate short-term exposure to levels exceeding the guideline value for carcinogens does not significantly affect the risk.

 

c NAD — No adequate data to permit recommendation of a health-based guideline value.

 

d ATO — Concentrations of the substance at or below the health-based guideline value may affect the appearance, taste, or odour of the water.

 

Table 3. Chemicals not of health significance at concentrations normally found in drinking-water
Chemical Remarks
asbestos U
fluoranthene U
glyphosate U
silver U
tin U

 

U — It is unnecessary to recommend a health-based guideline value for these compounds because they are not hazardous to human health at concentrations normally found in drinking-water.

 

Table 4. Radioactive constituents of drinking-water
Screening value (Bq/litre)
gross alpha activity 0.1
gross beta activity 1

 

Table 5. Substances and parameters in drinking-water that may give rise to complaints from consumers

 

 

Levels likely to give rise to consumer complaintsa Reasons for consumer complaints
Physical parameters
colour 15 TCUb appearance
taste and odour — should be acceptable
temperature — should be acceptable
turbidity 5 NTUc appearance; for effective terminal disinfection, median turbidity =1 NTU, single sample =5 NTU
Inorganic constituents
aluminium 0.2 mg/l depositions, discoloration
ammonia 1.5 mg/l odour and taste
chloride 250 mg/l taste, corrosion
copper 1 mg/l staining of laundry and sanitary ware (health-based provisional guideline value 2 mg/litre)
hardness — high hardness: scale deposition, scum formation
low hardness: possible corrosion
hydrogen sulfide 0.05 mg/l odour and taste
iron 0.3 mg/l staining of laundry and sanitary ware
manganese 0.1 mg/l staining of laundry and sanitary ware (health-based guideline value 0.5 mg/litre)
dissolved oxygen — indirect effects
pH — low pH: corrosion

 

high pH: taste, soapy feel

 

preferably <8.0 for effective disinfection with chlorine
sodium 200 mg/l taste
sulfate 250 mg/l taste, corrosion
total dissolved solids 1000 mg/l taste
zinc 3 mg/l appearance, taste
Organic constituents
toluene 24–170 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 700 µg/l)
xylene 20–1800 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 500 µg/l)
ethylbenzene 2–200 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 300 µg/l)
styrene 4–2600 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 20 µg/l)
monochlorobenzene 10–120 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 300 µg/l)
1,2-dichlorobenzene 1–10 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 1000 µg/l)
1,4-dichlorobenzene 0.3–30 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 300 µg/l)
trichlorobenzenes (total) 5–50 µg/l odour, taste (health-based guideline value 20 µg/l)
synthetic detergents — foaming, taste, odour
Disinfectants and disinfectant by-products
chlorine 600–1000 µg/l taste and odour (health-based guideline value 5 µg/l)
chlorophenols
2-chlorophenol 0.1–10 µg/l taste, odour
2,4-dichlorophenol 0.3–40 µg/l taste, odour
2,4,6-trichlorophenol 2–300 µg/l taste, odour (health-based guideline value 200 µg/l)

 

a The levels indicated are not precise numbers. Problems may occur at lower or higher values according to local circumstances. A range of taste and odour threshold concentrations is given for organic constituents.

 

b TCU, true colour unit.

 

c NTU, nephelometric turbidity unit.

 

IMPORTANT - DISCLAIMER

 

The tables numbered 1 through 5 in both pages of the document "F04a and F04b" are the copyrighted property of the World Health Organisation. They may not be used for commercial purposes.

 

Source & Link to WHO Summary Tables

 

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/GDWQ/Summary_tables/Sumtab.htm

 

Go to the above link to read the full copyright and further explanation of the terms used in this document - as well as further useful information. Also note that some of the substances mentioned in this document may not be licensed for use in certain countries. The reader is advised to obtain an analysis of their own water supply either from their water company or local environmental health office.

 

Other useful links;-

 

EPA 'IRIS' Substance List http://www.epa.gov/iris/

 

EPA Pesticides http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/

 

MAFF http://www.maff.gov.uk/

 

ChemWeb http://www.chemweb.com/

 

PAN Pesticide Database http://www.pesticideinfo.org/

 

ChemFinder http://www.chemfinder.com/

 



The Truth About Fluoride