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Drinking Water Fact Sheet: Disinfection Byproducts

Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form when chlorine or other disinfectants react with organic material (from the decomposition of leaves and other vegetation) naturally found in drinking water sources. The use of chlorine to disinfect drinking water has been hailed as one of the major public health breakthroughs in the 20th century, resulting in a large decrease in mortality from waterborne infectious disease. However, in 1976 the National Cancer Institute published data showing that chloroform, a chlorination byproduct, caused cancer in rodents. There is now evidence that disinfection—though pivotal in fighting infectious disease—may also result in cancer and other health risks for humans. 

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Resources

  • Annual Report 2012

    PSR is pleased to present its 2012 Annual Report to our members and other stakeholders. Read more »

  • Toxic Chemicals in Our Food System

    What chemicals are in the food we eat? Chemicals are used in every step of the process that puts food on our table: production, harvesting, processing, packing, transport, marketing and consumption and can be dangerous to our health. Read more »

  • Fracking: Harm on the Farm

    Chemical exposures that harm farm animals and wild animals raise concern about health risks for people living near fracking sites, as the animals use the same water and breathe the same air as humans. Another, indirect concern for human health also exists: in multiple known cases of chemical exposure, cows continued to produce dairy and meat for human consumption, although it remained untested for chemical contaminants. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • July 17, 2014
    Our Best Opportunity to Cut Climate Change
    We need you to take action now! Tell the EPA that its proposed rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants Is vitally important and on the right track – but can be strengthened.