Science Inventory

The Occurrence and Comparative Toxicity of Haloacetaldehyde Disinfection Byproducts in Drinking Water


Jeong, C., C. Postigo, S. Richardson, J. Simmons, S. Kimura, B. Marinas, P. Liang, E. Wagner, AND M. Plewa. The Occurrence and Comparative Toxicity of Haloacetaldehyde Disinfection Byproducts in Drinking Water. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 49(23):13749-13759, (2015).


A significant impact is the development of two analytical methods that are sufficient to analyze the group of 10 haloacetaldehydes. This method was then used to measure the concentrations of these 10 chemicals in source water and corresponding finished drinking water from six cities in three states. Based on cytotoxicity in a Chinese Hamster Ovary Cell assay, the haloacetaldehydes as a class are more cytotoxic than other classes of disinfection byproducts. The data from this paper shed light on the relative occurrence of haloacetaldehydes in chlorinated and chloraminated water, provide the most comprehensive set of data to date on them as a class and compares their in vitro toxicity to that of other chemical classes of disinfection byproducts.


The introduction of drinking water disinfection greatly reduced the incidence of waterborne diseases. However, the reaction between disinfectants and natural organic matter in the source water can lead to an unintended consequence, which is the formation of drinking water disinfection byproducts (DBPs). The haloacetaldehydes (HALs) are the third largest group by weight of identified DBPs formed in drinking water. The objective of this study was to analyze the occurrence and comparative toxicity of the emerging HAL DBPs. Ten HALs were analyzed for their in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. This study identified a new HAL DBP, iodoacetaldehyde (IAL), and showed that HALs are cytotoxic and genotoxic to mammalian cells. This study provided the first systematic, quantitative comparison of HAL toxicity. The rank order of cytotoxicity for the HALs is tribromacetaldehyde (TBAL) ≈ chloroacetaldehyde (CAL) > dibromoacetaldehyde (DBAL) ≈ bromochloroacetaldehyde (BCAL) ≈ dibromochloroacetaldehyde (DBCAL) > IAL > bromoacetaldehyde (BAL) ≈ bromodichloroacetaldehyde (BDCAL) > dichloroacetaldehyde (DCAL) > trichloroacetaldehyde (TCAL). The HALs were highly cytotoxic compared to other DBP chemical classes. The rank order of genotoxicity for the HALs is DBAL > CAL ≈ DBCAL > TBAL ≈ BAL > BDCAL > BCAL ≈ DCAL > IAL. TCAL was not genotoxic. Because of their toxicity and abundance, further research is needed to investigate their mode of action to protect the public health and the environment.

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Record Details:

Product Published Date: 05/05/2015
Record Last Revised: 11/21/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 311640