Is Drinking Water a Significant Source of Human Exposure to Chemical Carcinogens and Mutagens?

  • Richard J. Bull
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 22)


Drinking water has long been suspected as a medium through which chemical carcinogens and mutagens reach man. The first inquiries into this possibility were made by Heuper and Ruchhoft (1954), who tested carbon-chloroform extracts from the following samples: a gravity oil separator effluent from a petroleum refinery; raw water from a canal polluted by wastes from a petroleum refinery; raw water from Nitro, WV (the Kanawha River); and finished water from Cincinnati, OH (the Ohio River). These samples were applied topically to black male C57 mice in whole-animal carcinogenicity tests lasting one year. Samples from the refinery and the ship canal were carcinogenic; the raw water from Nitro and the finished water from Cincinnati gave negative results. While this study did not give direct evidence of carcinogens in drinking waters, it brought attention to the presence of such chemicals in surface waters used as sources for drinking water.


Drinking Water Fulvic Acid Petroleum Refinery Chemical Carcinogen Chlorine Dioxide 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Bull
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Effects Research LaboratoryU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnatiUSA

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