RICHARDSON, S. D. Disinfection By-Products: Formation and Occurrence in Drinking Water. Chapter 2, J.O. Nriagu (ed.), Encyclopedia of Environmental Health. Elsevier Science Inc., Burlington, MA, 2:110-136, (2011).
The disinfection of drinking water has been rightly hailed as a public health triumph of the twentieth century. Millions of people worldwide receive quality drinking water every day from their public water systems. However, chemical disinfection has also produced an unintended health hazard: the potential for cancer and reproductive/developmental effects that are associated with chemical disinfection by-products (DBPs). Chemical disinfectants are effective for killing harmful pathogens in drinking water, but they are also powerful oxidants, oxidizing the natural organic matter (including humic and fulvic acids), anthropogenic contaminants, and bromide/iodide naturally present in most source waters (rivers, lakes, and many groundwaters). Chlorine, ozone, chlorine dioxide, and chloramines are the most common disinfectants in use today, and each produces its own suite of DBPs in drinking water.
Characterize risks associated with drinking water sources, treatment, distribution, and use.