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Journal of environmental and public health

The effect of different boiling and filtering devices on the concentration of disinfection by-products in tap water.


PMID 23476675

Abstract

Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are ubiquitous contaminants in tap drinking water with the potential to produce adverse health effects. Filtering and boiling tap water can lead to changes in the DBP concentrations and modify the exposure through ingestion. Changes in the concentration of 4 individual trihalomethanes (THM4) (chloroform (TCM), bromodichloromethane (BDCM), dibromochloromethane (DBCM), and bromoform (TBM)), MX, and bromate were tested when boiling and filtering high bromine-containing tap water from Barcelona. For filtering, we used a pitcher-type filter and a household reverse osmosis filter; for boiling, an electric kettle, a saucepan, and a microwave were used. Samples were taken before and after each treatment to determine the change in the DBP concentration. pH, conductivity, and free/total chlorine were also measured. A large decrease of THM4 (from 48% to 97%) and MX concentrations was observed for all experiments. Bromine-containing trihalomethanes were mostly eliminated when filtering while chloroform when boiling. There was a large decrease in the concentration of bromate with reverse osmosis, but there was a little effect in the other experiments. These findings suggest that the exposure to THM4 and MX through ingestion is reduced when using these household appliances, while the decrease of bromate is device dependent. This needs to be considered in the exposure assessment of the epidemiological studies.

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