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Synthetic Organic Contaminants  and their Standards

 

This group of contaminants includes pesticides, PCB, and dioxin. Following is a brief description of the volatile organic contaminates regulated in Florida.

Note: Listed in the MCL column is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) or standard for that contaminant.

 

Contaminant MCL Health Effects
2,3,7,8-TCDD
(Dioxin)
3 X 10E-8 mg/L This organic chemical is an impurity in the production of some pesticides. It may get into drinking water by industrial discharge of wastes. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for dioxin at 0.00000003 parts per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to dioxin.
2,4-D 0.07 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a herbicide and to control algae in reservoirs. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, 2,4-D may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver and kidneys of laboratory animals such as rats exposed at high levels during their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical also suffered damage to the nervous system. EPA has set the drinking water standard for 2,4-D at 0.07 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to 2,4-D.
2,4,5-TP 0.05 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a herbicide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, 2,4,5-TP may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver and kidneys of laboratory animals such as rats and dogs exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. Some industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during working careers also suffered damage to the nervous system. EPA has set the drinking water standard for 2,4,5-TP at 0.05 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to 2,4,5-TP.
Alachlor 0.002 mg/L This organic chemical is a widely used pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, alachlor may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for alachlor at 0.002 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to alachlor.
Atrazine 0.003 mg/L This organic chemical is a herbicide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, atrazine may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to affect offspring of rats and the heart of dogs. EPA has set the drinking water standard for atrazine at 0.003 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to atrazine.
Benzo(a)pyrene 0.0002 mg/L Cigarette smoke and charbroiled meats are common sources of general exposure. The major source of benzo(a)pyrene in drinking water is the leaching from coal tar lining and sealants in water storage tanks. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels. EPA has set the drinking water standard for benzo(a)pyrene at 0.0002 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of cancer. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to benzo(a)pyrene.
Carbofuran 0.04 mg/L This organic chemical is a pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, carbofuran may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to damage the nervous and reproductive systems of laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during their working careers also suffered damage to the nervous system. Effects on the nervous system are generally rapidly reversible. EPA has set the drinking water standard for carbofuran at 0.04 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk [pg. 3591] and is considered safe with respect to carbofuran.
Chlordane 0.002 mg/L This organic chemical is a pesticide used to control termites. Chlordane is not very mobile in soils. It usually gets into drinking water after application near water supply intakes or wells. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for chlordane at 0.002 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to chlordane.
Dalapon 0.2 mg/L This organic chemical is a widely used herbicide. It may get into drinking water after application to control grasses in crops, drainage ditches and along railroads. This chemical has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver in laboratory animals when the animals are exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for dalapon at 0.2 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to dalapon.
Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate 0.4 mg/L Di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate is a widely used plasticizer in a variety of products, including synthetic rubber, food packaging materials and cosmetics. It may get into drinking water after improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to damage liver and testes in laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed to high levels. EPA has set the drinking water standard for di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate at 0.4 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to di(2-ethyl-hexyl)adipate.
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 0.006 mg/L Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate is a widely used plasticizer, which is primarily used in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins. It may get into drinking water after improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate at 0.006 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate.
Dibromochloropropane (DBCP) 0.0002 mg/L This organic chemical was once a popular pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, dibromochloropropane may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for DBCP at 0.0002 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to DBCP.
Dinoseb 0.007mg/L Dinoseb is a widely used pesticide and generally gets into drinking water after application on orchards, vineyards and other crops. This chemical has been shown to damage the thyroid and reproductive organs in laboratory animals such as rats exposed to high levels. EPA has set the drinking water standard for dinoseb at 0.007 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to dinoseb.
Diquat 0.02mg/L This organic chemical is a herbicide used to control terrestrial and aquatic weeds. It may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract and causes cataract formation in laboratory animals such as dogs and rats exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for diquat at 0.02 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to diquat.
Endothall 0.1 mg/L This organic chemical is a herbicide used to control terrestrial and aquatic weeds. It may get into water by run-off into surface water. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and reproductive system of laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for endothall at 0.1 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to endothall.
Endrin 0.002 mg/L This organic chemical is a pesticide no longer registered for use in the United States. However, this chemical is persistent in treated soils and accumulates in sediments and aquatic and terrestrial biota. This chemical has been shown to cause damage to the liver, kidneys and heart in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for endrin at 0.002 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to endrin.
Ethylene dibromide

(EDB)

0.00002 mg/L This organic chemical was once a popular pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, EDB may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. DEP has set the drinking water standard for EDB at 0.00002 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to EDB.
Glyphosate 0.7 mg/L This organic chemical is a herbicide used to control grasses and weeds. It may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water. This chemical has been shown to cause damage to the liver and kidneys in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for glyphosate at 0.7 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to glyphosate.
Heptachlor 0.0004 mg/L This organic chemical was once a popular pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, heptachlor may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standards for heptachlor at 0.0004 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to heptachlor.
Heptachlor epoxide 0.0002 mg/L This organic chemical was once a popular pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, heptachlor epoxide may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standards for heptachlor epoxide at 0.0002 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to heptachlor epoxide.
Hexachlorobenzene 0.001 mg/L This organic chemical is produced as an impurity in the manufacture of certain solvents and pesticides. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for hexachlorobenzene at 0.001 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of cancer and other adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to hexachlorobenzene.
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene 0.05 mg/L This organic chemical is used as an intermediate in the manufacture of pesticides and flame retardants. It may get into water by discharge from production facilities. This chemical has been shown to damage the kidneys and the stomach of laboratory animals when exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for hexachlorocyclopentadiene at 0.05 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to hexachlorocyclopentadiene.
Lindane 0.0002 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, lindane may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, kidneys, nervous system, and immune system of laboratory animals such as rats, mice and dogs exposed at high levels during their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical also suffered damage to the nervous system and circulatory system. EPA has established the drinking water standard for lindane at 0.0002 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to lindane.
Methoxychlor 0.04 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, methoxychlor may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, kidneys, nervous system, and reproductive system of laboratory animals such as rats exposed at high levels during their lifetimes. It has also been shown to produce growth retardation in rats. EPA has set the drinking water standard for methoxychlor at 0.04 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to methoxychlor.
Oxamyl 0.2 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a pesticide for the control of insects and other pests. It may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to damage the kidneys of laboratory animals such as rats when exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for oxamyl at 0.2 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to oxamyl.
Pentachlorophenol 0.001 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a wood preservative, herbicide, disinfectant, and defoliant. It generally gets into drinking water by runoff into surface water or leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to produce adverse reproductive effects and to damage the liver and kidneys of laboratory animals such as rats exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical also suffered damage to the liver and kidneys. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for pentachlorophenol at 0.001 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to pentachlorophenol.
Picloram 0.5 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a herbicide for broadleaf weed control. It may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water as a result of herbicide application and improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver in laboratory animals such as rats when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for picloram at 0.5 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to picloram.
Polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs)
0.0005 mg/L These organic chemicals were once widely used in electrical transformers and other industrial equipment. They generally get into drinking water by improper waste disposal or leaking electrical industrial equipment. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for PCBs at 0.0005 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to PCBs.
Simazine 0.004 mg/L This organic chemical is a herbicide used to control annual grasses and broadleaf weeds. It may leach into ground water or run-off into surface water after application. This chemical may cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed at high levels during their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for simazine at 0.004 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to simazine.
Toxaphene 0.003 mg/L This organic chemical was once a pesticide widely used on cotton, corn, soybeans, pineapples and other crops. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, toxaphene may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for toxaphene at 0.003 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to toxaphene.

Last updated: September 30, 2014

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