CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OP HEALTH ASPECTS OF ALTERNATIVE DISINFECTANTS TO CHLORINE (EHT 9276 SLD) DoE 1579-H
Report No DWI0040

Aug 1987

SUMMARY

There has been concern over the by-products formed during the use of chlorine as a drinking water disinfectant. The data on the organic and inorganic by-products of alternative disinfectants to chlorine are reviewed and the health implications for consumers discussed.

The alternative disinfectants have been less comprehensively studied than chlorine and there is very little data which relates to the formation of by-products under conditions typical of water treatment. Ozone has been most studied, chlorine dioxide to a lesser extent and chloramine and U.V. hardly at all. However, the data indicate that the organic by-products are, on the whole, likely to be of less concern than those from chlorination.

In general, they appear to produce less mutagenicity than chlorination but clear comparative studies are required to confirm this.

There remain some uncertainties about the possible effects of the inorganic reaction products of chloramine and in particular chlorine dioxide on vulnerable sections of the population.

Copies of this report may be available as an Acrobat pdf download under the 'Pre 2000 Reports' heading on the DWI website.