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Common Chemicals in Tap Water

Chemical

What is it

Used for/Found in

Adverse Health Effects

Alachor

Herbicide/Organic

Production of corn and soybeans

Nervous system, cancer

Asbestos

Inorganic

Fire retardant

Cancer

Atrazine

Herbicide/Organic

Production of corn, sorghum, sugarcane

Nervous system, mammary glands, cancer

Benzene

VOC

Early uses included after shave lotion, decaffeinating coffee, Liquid Wrench, model cement, paint strippers, rubber cements, spot removers and degreasing solvent, now is a limited use gasoline additive

Leukemia, anemia, cancer

Bromodichloromethane

VOC/ THM

By product of chlorinating water

Nervous system and muscles

Bromoform

VOC/ THM

solvent, sedative and flame retardant,

Nervous system and muscles

Carbofuran

Pesticide/Organic

Pest control for cotton

Nervous system, kidney, liver, anemia, leukemia

Carbon Tetrachloride

VOC

Solvent, making of refrigerant

Toxic to liver, cancer

Chlorine

Organic

Kills water-borne diseases, added to public water supplies

Fatal in high doses, long term small doses unknown, toxic to water creatures, possible ozone layer

Chlorobenzene

VOC

Pesticide, making of DDT

Nervous system, liver, kidneys

Chloroform

VOC/ THM

Solvent, refrigerant making, general anaesthesia

Nervous system, muscles

Cysts (Gardia, Protozoan, and Cryptosporidium)

 

Fecal

Fecal matter

Gastroenteric diseases

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid or 2,4D

Pesticide/Organic

Control broad leaf weeds in wheat, maize, sorghum, rice and grasslands

Liver, kidney damage

Dibromochloropropane or DBCP

Fumigant

Cucumbers, summer squash, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, snap beans, okra, lawn

Reproduction

Dibromochloromethane or TTHM

VOC/ THM

Chlorine interaction with organics in water

Nervous system, muscles

1,2-Dichlorobenzene or o-Dichlorobenzene

VOC

solvent for waxes, gums, resins, tars, rubbers, oils. degreasing of metals, leather and wool.

Kidneys, liver, lungs

p-Dichlorobenzene or Dichlorobenzene

VOC

Control moths, moulds and mildew (some mothballs)

Kidneys, liver, lungs

1,1-Dichloroethane or 1,1-DCA

VOC

Solvent of plastic, oils & fats

Liver, kidney, nervous system

1,2-Dichloroethane or 1,2-DCA

VOC

Precursor to making PVC, degreaser & paint remover

Nausea, damages kidneys, liver

(Trans or cis) 1,2-
Dichloroethylene

VOC

Solvent for waxes, resins, extraction of rubber, refrigerant, artificial pearls

Liver, circulatory and nervous system damage

1,1-Dichloroethylene or 1,1-DCE

VOC

Adhesives, synthetic fibers, refrigerants, food packaging and coating resins

Liver, kidneys, cancer

1,2-Dichloropropane or Propylene Dichloride

VOC

Lead-free gasoline, paper coating, insecticide for stored grain

Liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder, gastrointestinal, respiratory tract damage, cancer

Cis-1,3-
Dichloropropylene

Pesticide

Pesticide

Cancer

Dinoseb

Pesticides/Organic

Post-emergence weed control in cereals crops, pesticide for corn

Birth defects, sterility, thyroid damage

Endrin

Pesticides/Organic

Insecticide for cotton, maize & rice, kills birds & mice

Nervous system, kidneys, liver, anemia, leukemia, heart damage, cancer

Ethylbenzene

Organic

Making of styrene & polystyrene plastics

Nervous system, liver, kidneys

Ethyl Dibromide or EDB

Pesticides

Fumigant for bark beetles, termites, wax moths in beehives, carrier for dyes, resins, waxes & gums

Severe skin irritant, liver, kidney

Fluoride

Organic

Controversial public water additive to reduce tooth decay

High doses deteriorate bones, damage kidney, liver.

Hexachlorobutadiene

VOC

Used in manufacture of rubber compounds, production of lubricants, a fluid for gyroscopes, and in hydraulic fluids

No human studies. Animals develop kidney, respiratory problems, high doses are toxic

Hexachloro-
cyclopentadiene or Perchlorobutadiene

VOC

Raw material in manufacture of other chemicals, pesticides, flame retardants, resins, dyes, pharmaceuticals, plastics

Gastrointestinal distress, liver, kidneys, heart

Lead

Inorganic

Non corrosive metal use to contain corrosive liquids, as external covering of roofing joints, formerly in paint and gasoline

Nervous system, kidneys, highly toxic to infants and pregnant women

Lindane

Pesticide/Organic

Insecticide and pharmaceutical for treatment of head lice

Nervous system, liver, kidneys, possible carcinogen

Meta-Xylene

Pesticide

solvent in the printing, rubber, and leather industries

Low exposure: headaches, poor muscle control, dizziness, confusion. Long term: nervous system, kidneys, lungs, liver.

Methoxychlor

Pesticides/Organic

Insecticide for crops, ornamentals, livestock, and pets against fleas, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other insects. Replaced DDT.

Nervous system, kidneys, liver, anemia, leukemia. Studies link reproductive problems in male and female, cancer

Methylbenzene or Toluene

VOC

Solvent for paint, silicone sealants, rubber, ink, adhesives, lacquers, tanners & disinfectants

Nervous system, liver, kidneys

Methyl tert-butyl ether or MTBE

VOC

Water soluble, formally used as gasoline additive replacing lead to raise octane level, solvent, pharmaceutical to dissolve gallstones

Cancer

Ortho-Xylene and

Para-Xylene

Pesticide

Solvent for printing, rubber and leather industries

Nervous system, kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes

Pentachlorophenol or PCP

Organic/ Herbicides

Alternative to creosote, a wood preservative

Liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, nervous system, immune system, gastrointestinal tract. Long term exposure: cancer

Simazine

Organic/ Herbicides

Control of broad-leaf weeds and annual grasses

Cancer, affects nervous system

Styrene

VOC

Precursor to polystyrene and making of synthetic rubber

Nervous system, liver, kidneys

1,1,2,2-
Tetrachloroethane

VOC

Highest solvent power of any chlorinated hydrocarbon, refrigerant R-130

Inhalation exposure; jaundice, enlarged liver, headaches, tremors, dizziness, numbness, drowsiness, probable carcenogen

Tetrachloroethylene or PCE

VOC

Known as “dry leaning fluid”, mixed with other chemicals for degreasing metal parts, paint stripper, spot removers

Inhaling its vapors cause dizziness, headache, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, death

2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid or 2,4,5-TP or Silvex

Organic/ Herbicides

Part of the formula for “Agent Orange” it is a broad leaf defoliant

Liver, kidney, nervous system, probable carcinogen

1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene

VOC

Dye carrier, herbicides, solvent in wood preservatives, abrasives. Once used as treatment for termite control

Liver, kidneys, adrenal glands

1,1,1-Trichloroethane or 1,1,1 TCA

VOC

Grease removing solvent for machined metal products, textile processing and dyeing and aerosols

Liver, nervous system, circulatory system

1,1,2-Trichloroethane or 1,1,2-TCE

VOC

Used to make vinylidene chloride used in making synthetic fibers and plastic film wraps

Liver, kidneys, cancer

Trichloroethylene or TCE

VOC

Solvent for degreasing metal parts and textile manufacturing

Liver, cancer

THM or trihalomethanes – is the carcinogenic by product of a chorine interaction with organics.

VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds – are organic chemicals that produce vapors readily at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure, generally hydrocarbons.