Tag Archives: trihalomethanes (THMs)

Flint, Michigan TTHMs within Regulatory Limits

Allen JM, Cuthbertson AA, Liberatore HK, Kimura SY, Mantha A, Edwards MA, Richardson SD. Showering in Flint, MI: Is there a DBP problem? J Environ Sci (China). 2017 Aug;58:271-284. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2017.06.009.

Lead contamination in the City of Flint, MI has been well documented over the past two years, with lead levels above the EPA Action Level until summer 2016. This resulted from an ill-fated decision to switch from Detroit water (Lake Huron) with corrosion control, to Flint River water without corrosion control. Although lead levels are now closer to normal, reports of skin rashes have sparked questions surrounding tap water in some Flint homes. This study investigated the presence of contaminants, including disinfection by-products (DBPs), in the hot tap water used for showering in the homes of residents in Flint. Extensive quantitative analysis of 61 regulated and priority unregulated DBPs was conducted in Flint hot and cold tap water, along with the analysis of 50 volatile organic compounds and a nontarget comprehensive, broadscreen analysis, to identify a possible source for the reported skin rashes. For comparison, chlorinated hot and cold waters from three other cities were also sampled, including Detroit, which also uses Lake Huron as its source water. Results showed that hot water samples generally contained elevated levels of regulated and priority unregulated DBPs compared to cold water samples, but trihalomethanes were still within regulatory limits. Overall, hot shower water from Flint was similar to waters sampled from the three other cities and did not have unusually high levels of DBPs or other organic chemicals that could be responsible for the skin rashes observed by residents. It is possible that an inorganic chemical or microbial contaminant may be responsible.

Removing NDMA and THMs using Ion Exchange Resins

Beita-Sandí W, Karanfil T. Removal of both N-nitrosodimethylamine and trihalomethanes precursors in a single treatment using ion exchange resins. Water Res. 2017 Jul 14;124:20-28. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.07.028.

Drinking water utilities are relying more than ever on water sources impacted by wastewater effluents. Disinfection/oxidation of these waters during water treatment may lead to the formation of several disinfection by-products, including the probable human carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and the regulated trihalomethanes (THMs). In this study, the potential of ion exchange resins to control both NDMA and THMs precursors in a single treatment is presented. Two ion exchange resins were examined, a cation exchange resin (Plus) to target NDMA precursors and an anion exchange resin (MIEX) for THMs precursors control. We applied the resins, individually and combined, in the treatment of surface and wastewater effluent samples. The treatment with both resins removed simultaneously NDMA (43-85%) and THMs (39-65%) precursors. However, no removal of NDMA precursors was observed in the surface water with low initial NDMA FP (14 ng/L). The removals of NDMA FP and THMs FP with Plus and MIEX resins applied alone were (49-90%) and (41-69%), respectively. These results suggest no interaction between the resins, and thus the feasibility of effectively controlling NDMA and THMs precursors concomitantly. Additionally, the effects of the wastewater impact and the natural attenuation of precursors were studied. The results showed that neither the wastewater content nor the attenuation of the precursor affected the removals of NDMA and THMs precursors. Finally, experiments using a wastewater effluent sample showed that an increase in the calcium concentration resulted in a reduction in the removal of NDMA precursors of about 50%.

BAC Effects on Haloacetaldehyde and Trihalomethane Formation Potentials

Mao YQ, Wang XM, Guo XF, Yang HW, Xie YF. Characterization of haloacetaldehyde and trihalomethane formation potentials during drinking water treatment. Chemosphere. 2016 Jun 16;159:378-384. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.05.088.

Haloacetaldehydes (HAs) are the third prevalent group of disinfection by-products (DBPs) of great health concern. In this study, their formation and speciation during chlorination were investigated for raw and process waters collected at three O3-biological activated carbon (BAC) advanced drinking water treatment plants. The results showed that all HA formation potentials (HAFPs) were highly enhanced whenever ozone was applied before or after conventional treatment. Sand filtration and BAC filtration could substantially reduce HAFPs. Trihalomethanes (THMs) were also measured to better understand the role of HAs in DBPs. Very different from HAFPs, THMFPs kept decreasing with the progress of treatment steps, which was mainly attributed to the different precursors for HAs and THMs. Brominated HAs were detected in bromide-containing waters. Chloral hydrate (CH) contributed from 25% to 48% to the total HAs formed in waters containing 100-150 μg L-1 bromide, indicating the wide existence of other HAs after chlorination besides CH production. In addition, bromide incorporation factor (BIF) in HAs and THMs increased with the progress of treatment steps and the BIF values of THMs were generally higher than those of HAs. The BAC filtration following ozonation could significantly reduce HA precursors produced from ozonation but without complete removal. The brominated HAFPs in the outflow of BAC were still higher than their levels in the raw water. As a result, O3-BAC combined treatment was effective at controlling the total HAs, whereas it should be cautious for waters with high bromide levels.

Disinfection By-Products in Pakistan Drinking Water

Abbas S, Hashmi I, Rehman MS, Qazi IA, Awan MA, Nasir H. Monitoring of chlorination disinfection by-products and their associated health risks in drinking water of Pakistan. Journal of Water and Health. 2015 Mar;13(1):270-84. doi: 10.2166/wh.2014.096.

This study reports the baseline data of chlorination disinfection by-products such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and their associated health risks in the water distribution network of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan. THM monitoring was carried out at 30 different sampling sites across the twin cities for 6 months. The average concentration of total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and chloroform ranged between 575 and 595 μg/L which exceeded the permissible US (80 μg/L) and EU (100 μg/L) limits. Chloroform was one of the major contributors to the TTHMs concentration (>85%). The occurrence of THMs was found in the following order: chloroform, bromodichloromethane > dibromochloromethane > bromoform. Lifetime cancer risk assessment of THMs for both males and females was carried out using prediction models via different exposure routes (ingestion, inhalation, and dermal). Total lifetime cancer risk assessment for different exposure routes (ingestion, inhalation, and skin) was carried out. The highest cancer risk expected from THMs seems to be from the inhalation route followed by ingestion and dermal contacts. The average lifetime cancer risk for males and females was found to be 0.51 × 10(-3) and 1.22 × 10(-3), respectively. The expected number of cancer risks per year could reach two to three cases for each city.

Assessing THMFP and NDMAFP in Drinking Water using PARAFAC

Yang L, Kim D, Uzun H, Karanfil T, Hur J. Assessing trihalomethanes (THMs) and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) formation potentials in drinking water treatment plants using fluorescence spectroscopy and parallel factor analysis. Chemosphere 2014 Dec 1. pii: S0045-6535(14)01351-4. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.11.033.

The formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) is a major challenge in drinking water treatments. This study explored the applicability of fluorescence excitation-emission matrices and parallel factor analysis (EEM-PARAFAC) for assessing the formation potentials (FPs) of trihalomethanes (THMs) and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), and the treatability of THM and NDMA precursors in nine drinking water treatment plants. Two humic-like and one tryptophan-like components were identified for the samples using PARAFAC. The total THM FP (TTHM FP) correlated strongly with humic-like component C2 (r=0.874), while NDMA FP showed a moderate and significant correlation with the tryptophan-like component C3 (r=0.628). The reduction by conventional treatment was more effective for C2 than C3, and for TTHM FP than NDMA FP. The treatability of DOM and TTHM FP correlated negatively with the absorption spectral slope (S275-295) and biological index (BIX) of the raw water, but it correlated positively with humification index (HIX). Our results demonstrated that PARAFAC components were valuable for assessing DBPs FP in drinking water treatments, and also that the raw water quality could affect the treatment efficiency.

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Assessing exposure, reducing risk to trihalomethanes in drinking water

Chowdhury S. Exposure assessment for trihalomethanes in municipal drinking water and risk reduction strategy. Science of the Total Environment. 2013 Jul 18;463-464C:922-930. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.06.104.

Lifetime exposure to disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in municipal water may pose risks to human health. Current approaches of exposure assessments use DBPs in cold water during showering, while warming of chlorinated water during showering may increase trihalomethane (THM) formation in the presence of free residual chlorine. Further, DBP exposure through dermal contact during showering is estimated using steady-state condition between the DBPs in shower water impacting on human skin and skin exposed to shower water. The lag times to achieve steady-state condition between DBPs in shower water and human skin can vary in the range of 9.8-391.2min, while shower duration is often less than the lag times. Assessment of exposure without incorporating these factors might have misinterpreted DBP exposure in some previous studies. In this study, exposure to THMs through ingestion was estimated using cold water THMs, while THM exposure through inhalation and dermal contact during showering was estimated using THMs in warm water. Inhalation of THMs was estimated using THM partition into the shower air, while dermal uptake was estimated by incorporating lag times (e.g., unsteady and steady-state phases of exposure) during showering. Probabilistic approach was followed to incorporate uncertainty in the assessment. Inhalation and dermal contact during showering contributed 25-60% of total exposure. Exposure to THMs during showering can be controlled by varying shower stall volume, shower duration and air exchange rate following power law equations. The findings might be useful in understanding exposure to THMs, which can be extended to other volatile compounds in municipal water.

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Risk of congenital anomalies from trihalomethane exposure during pregnancy

Grazuleviciene R, Kapustinskiene V, Vencloviene J, Buinauskiene J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. Risk of congenital anomalies in relation to the uptake of trihalomethane from drinking water during pregnancy. Occup Environ Med. 2013 Feb 12.

OBJECTIVES: Congenital anomalies have been inconsistently associated with maternal crude estimated exposure to drinking water trihalomethane (THM). We investigated the relationship between individual THM uptake during the first trimester of pregnancy and congenital anomalies.

METHODS: We estimated maternal THM uptake for 3074 live births using residential tap water concentrations, drinking water ingestion, showering and bathing, and uptake factors of THM in the blood. Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate the association of THM exposure with congenital anomalies.

RESULTS: We observed no statistically significant relationships between congenital anomalies and the total THM internal dose. We found little indication of a dose-response relationship for brominated THM and congenital heart anomalies. The relationship was statistically significant for bromodichloromethane (BDCM) (OR=2.16, 95% CI 1.05 to 4.46, highest vs lowest tertile) during the first month of pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the probability of developing heart anomalies increased for every 0.1 μg/d increase in the BDCM and for every 0.01 μg/d increase in the internal dibromochloromethane (DBCM) dose (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.66, and OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.54, respectively). A dose-response relationship was evident for musculoskeletal anomalies and DBCM exposure during the first and second months of pregnancy, while BDCM exposure tended to increase the risk of urogenital anomalies.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows some evidence for an association between the internal dose of THM and the risk of congenital anomalies. In particular, increased prenatal exposure to brominated THM might increase the risk of congenital heart and musculoskeletal anomalies.

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