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Drinking Water Standards for Contaminants: Volatile and Synthetic Organic Chemicals (PDF)
This is a list of the organic chemicalswhich include pesticides, industrial chemicals, and disinfection by-productsthat are tested for in public water systems (those that provide water to the public), along with the maximum standard for the contaminant, and a brief description of the potential health effects associated with long-term consumption of elevated levels of the contaminants.
The federal standard for most contaminants is listed as a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), the lowest concentration at which that particular contaminant is believed to represent a potential health concern. Unless otherwise noted, the MCL is expressed as parts per billion (ppb). Also, because of technological limitations or other factors, it is not possible to test for some contaminants in a reliable fashion. Instead, public water systems are required to use specific Treatment Techniques (TT) that are designed to remove these particular contaminants from the water.
In addition to the chemicals listed, monitoring is done for approximately 60 organic chemicals for which MCLs have not been established. If unacceptable levels are found of these unregulated contaminantsbased on established state health standards and an assessment of the risks they posethe response is the same as if an MCL has been exceeded: the public water system must notify those served by the system.
Organic chemicals that are regulated in drinking water are a group of human-made chemical compounds and are components of a variety of pesticides and industrial and commercial products, including degreasers, paints, and petroleum distillates.
(Note: This fact sheet covers only organic chemicals. For a list of other contaminants that are monitored, refer to the Minnesota Department of Health fact sheet, Drinking Water Standards for Contaminants: Microbiological, Radiological, and Inorganic Contaminants)
MCL - Maximum Contaminant Level
ppb - parts per billion
TT - Treatment Technique
|Volatile Organic Chemicals||Potential Health Effects|
|Carbon tetrachloride||5||Liver effects, cancer|
|Chlorobenzene||100||Liver, kidney, nervous system effects|
|o-Dichlorobenzene||600||Liver, kidney, blood cell effects|
|para-Dichlorobenzene||175||Kidney effects, possible carcinogen|
|1,1-Dichloroethylene||7||Liver, kidney effects, possible carcinogen|
|cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene||70||Liver, kidney, nervous system, circulatory system effects|
|trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene||100||Liver, kidney, nervous system, circulatory system effects|
|Ethylbenzene||700||Liver, kidney, nervous system effects|
|Styrene||100||Liver, nervous systems effects, possible carcinogen|
|Toluene||1,000||Liver, kidney, nervous system, circulatory system effects|
|1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene||70||Liver, kidney effects|
|1,1,1-Trichloroethane||200||Liver, nervous system effects|
|1,1,2-Trichloroethane||5||Kidney, liver effects, possible carcinogen|
|Vinyl chloride||2||Nervous system, liver effects, cancer|
|Xylenes (total)||10,000||Liver, kidney, nervous system effects|
|Chlorate||1,000||Anemia, nervous system effects|
|Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)*||60||Cancer|
|Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)**||100||Cancer|
*Haloacetic acids consist of monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid, and dibromoacetic acid.
**Total trihalomethanes consist of chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and chlorodibromomethane.
|Synthetic Organic Chemicals||Potential Health Effects|
|Acrylamide||TT||Cancer, nervous system effects|
|Aldicarb||3||Nervous system effects|
|Aldicarb sulfoxide||4||Nervous system effects|
|Aldicarb sulfone||2||Nervous system effects|
|Atrazine||3||Liver, kidney, lung, cardiovascular effects; possible carcinogen|
|Benzo(a)pyrene (PAHs)||0.2||Liver, kidney effects, possible carcinogen|
|Carbofuran||40||Nervous system, reproductive system effects|
|2,4-D||70||Liver, kidney effects|
|Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate||400||Reproductive effects|
|Dinoseb||7||Thyroid, reproductive effects|
|Diquat||20||Ocular, liver, kidney effects|
||100||Liver, kidney, gastrointestinal effects|
|Endrin||2||Liver, kidney effects|
|Ethylene dibromide (EDB)||0.05||Cancer|
|Glyphosate||700||Liver, kidney effects|
|Hexachlorocyclopentadiene (HEX)||50||Kidney, stomach effects|
|Lindane||0.2||Liver, kidney, nervous system, immune system, circulatory system effects|
||40||Developmental, liver, kidney, nervous system effects|
|Oxamyl (Vydate)||200||Kidney effects|
|Picloram||500||Kidney, liver effects|
|Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)||0.5||Cancer|
|Simazine||4||Body weight and blood effects, possible carcinogen|
|2,4,5-TP (Silvex)||50||Liver, kidney effects|
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