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Human Health Screening and Public Health Significance of Contaminants of Emerging Concern Detected in Public Water Supplies
Benson, B., O. Conerly, W. Sander, A. Batt, S. Boone, E. Furlong, S. Glassmeyer, D. Koplin, H. Mash, K. Schenck, AND J. Simmons. Human Health Screening and Public Health Significance of Contaminants of Emerging Concern Detected in Public Water Supplies. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 579:1643-1648, (2017).
This paper provides a screening-level human health risk assessment using the margin of exposure of exposure approach, of contaminants of emerging concern detected in drinking water. As far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to provide this information for treated drinking water in the United States. For most of the chemicals, the results indicated little concern for potential risk, but highlighted a few areas where further investigation may be warranted.
The source water and treated drinking water from twenty five drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) across the United States were sampled in 2010 – 2012. Samples were analyzed for 247 contaminants using 15 chemical and microbiological methods. Most of these contaminants are not regulated currently either in drinking water or in discharges to ambient water by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other U.S. regulatory agencies. This analysis shows that there is little public health concern for most of the contaminants detected in treated water from the 25 DWTPs participating in this study. For vanadium, the calculated MOE was less than the screening MOE in two DWTPs. Additional study, for example a national survey may be needed to determine the number of people ingesting vanadium above a level of concern. In addition, the concentrations of lithium found in treated water from several DWTPs are within the range previous research has suggested to have a human health effect. Additional investigation of this issue may also be appropriate. Finally, new toxicological data suggests that exposure to manganese at levels in public water supplies may present a public health concern which may warrant a more robust assessment of this information.