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You are here: Home » Past Issues » Volume 7, 2012 - Number 1 » AN ANALYSIS OF TRIHALOMETHANE LEVELS IN THE DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS OF THREE ROMANIAN CITIES


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Thu-Trang THACH1, Anca Elena GURZAU2, Mark RUSSI1, Irina DIMITRASCU2, Cristian POP2 & Ovidiu POPA2
1Yale University School of Public Health, 47 College Street Suite 108, New Haven, CT 06520, USA,
thu-trang.thach@aya.yale.edu
2Environmental Health Center, Busuiocului 58, 400240 Cluj-Napoca, Romania, ancagurzau@ehc.ro

AN ANALYSIS OF TRIHALOMETHANE LEVELS IN THE DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS OF THREE ROMANIAN CITIES

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Abstract:

The main source of municipal water in Cluj, Târgu Mureş and Zalau is surface waters treated with chlorine. No studies have been done in these cities to describe factors that may contribute to CBP levels, or to characterize the relationship of surface water chlorination with possible health risks. We undertook sampling from water treatment plants and from a range of locations in Cluj, Târgu Mureş and Zalau, and examined the influence of city and distance from chlorination site upon THM and chloroform levels. To better understand the potential health risks posed to consumers of water from treatment plants in Romania, we used the ATSDR established MRLs to assess the risk of bladder cancer from THM and chloroform exposure using chemical analysis of THM concentrations of water obtained directly from the water treatment plants. THMs and chloroform levels in the three cities ranged from 9.04-116.79 μg/L and 9.04-78.24 μg/L, respectively. Both THMs and chloroform levels were found to be lowest in Cluj-Napoca as compared with those in the other two cities where levels appeared to be similar. Mean THM levels were 48.120 (SE=3.917), 81.883 (SE=4.014) and 81.521 (SE=4.014) in Cluj, Târgu Mureş and Zalau, respectively. Mean chloroform levels were 35.386 (SE=2.848), 64.784 (SE=2.919) and 50.778 (SE=2.919) in Cluj, Târgu Mureş and Zalau, respectively. Multivariate linear regression showed non-significant (p=0.108) effect of distance on THM levels and a significant effect of city in predicting THM levels. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt at investigating the levels of THMs, specifically chloroform, in these Romanian cities to aid in characterizing possible cancer risk to residents. Measured levels of chloroform in this study are below the US EPA standards for acute, intermediate and chronic exposures. Results from this study suggest that Romania has been successful in its efforts to adhere to UN drinking water standards. Additionally, it suggests that consumers of chlorinated drinking water in Cluj-Napoca, Târgu Mureş and Zalau are unlikely to face long-term health risks from consumption. This assumption, however, should be made cautiously due to the complex nature of the exposure and should be further studied.


Keyword: bladder cancer, chloroform, drinking water disinfection, health effects, trihalomethanes


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