Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Feb;110 Suppl 1:75-87.

Use of mechanism-based structure-activity relationships analysis in carcinogenic potential ranking for drinking water disinfection by-products.

Author information

Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Risk Assessment Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA.


Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are formed when disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramine, and ozone react with organic and inorganic matter in water. The observations that some DBPs such as trihalomethanes (THMs), di-/trichloroacetic acids, and 3-chloro-4-(dichloromethyl)-5-hydroxy-2(5H)-furanone (MX) are carcinogenic in animal studies have raised public concern over the possible adverse health effects of DBPs. To date, several hundred DBPs have been identified. To prioritize research efforts, an in-depth, mechanism-based structure-activity relationship analysis, supplemented by extensive literature search for genotoxicity and other data, was conducted for ranking the carcinogenic potential of DBPs that met the following criteria: a) detected in actual drinking water samples, b) have insufficient cancer bioassay data for risk assessment, and c) have structural features/alerts or short-term predictive assays indicative of carcinogenic potential. A semiquantitative concern rating scale of low, marginal, low-moderate, moderate, high-moderate, and high was used along with delineation of scientific rationale. Of the 209 DBPs analyzed, 20 were of priority concern with a moderate or high-moderate rating. Of these, four were structural analogs of MX and five were haloalkanes that presumably will be controlled by existing and future THM regulations. The other eleven DBPs, which included halonitriles (6), haloketones (2), haloaldehyde (1), halonitroalkane (1), and dialdehyde (1), are suitable priority candidates for future carcinogenicity testing and/or mechanistic studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center