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New studies advance scientific knowledge of drinking water disinfection byproducts

BETHESDA, MD (October 15, 2002) In its September/October issue, the International Journal of Toxicology is pleased to publish the last in a series of four studies examining possible reproductive and developmental health effects from two byproducts of drinking water chlorination. These studies fill significant data gaps identified by a Federal Advisory Committee formed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on drinking water regulations.

Small amounts of disinfection byproducts, including bromodichloromethane (BDCM) and dibromoacetic acid (DBA), are formed in drinking water when chlorine disinfectants combine with naturally occurring organic matter. Several epidemiology studies have reported a possible association between these byproducts and adverse reproductive outcomes, including spontaneous abortion. Because the existing toxicology data was very limited, the Federal Advisory Committee recommended that BDCM, in particular, should be thoroughly studied for a potential causal relationship to reproductive and developmental toxicity.

To address these data gaps, researchers at Argus Research Laboratories examined laboratory animals exposed to BDCM and DBA through drinking water. Each study found no adverse effects at dose levels thousands of times higher than those to which humans are exposed. Based on the results of these studies, the researchers concluded that BDCM and DBA are unlikely to pose a reproductive or developmental health risk to humans. EPA will review this research as it develops new regulations on disinfection byproducts.

The studies were designed to comply with the EPA's Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Guidelines and with the EPA's Guidelines for Good Laboratory Practices. Each study was independently monitored. In addition, an independent panel of experts reviewed the study designs and interpretation of data. The studies were sponsored by the Research Foundation for Health and Env
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Contact: Dr. Bruce Bernard
bernard@sra-intl.com
202-728-1400
International Journal of Toxicology
15-Oct-2002


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