May 30, 2010

New Study Suggests Cancer-causing Chemicals in Drinking Water Comes from Shampoo, Detergent

a study published in Environmental Science & Technology, researchers reported that harmful nitrosamines form from quaternary amines, which are found in many consumer products, and since pretreatment with ozone or chlorine does not reduce the amount of nitrosamines that form, many of these nitrosamines end up in drinking water, wastewater and recreational water.

One nitrosamine, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), is of particular interest because it is a toxic organic chemical and a suspected human carcinogen.

Preliminary Findings Yield Grab-Bag of Results
The report is clear that the findings are preliminary. Only a fraction of the hundreds of potential products were analyzed, and, as the report states, there was wide variation in the tendency to act as a precursor to NDMA:

Our calculations are highly preliminary. Consumer products exhibited a range of tendencies to serve as precursors during chloramination, and it is unlikely that any one compound would account for the majority of nitrosamine formation. Certain products, including the Cheer laundry detergent and Pantene shampoo, did not form nitrosamines. However, the NDMA mass yield from Dawn dishwashing detergent was 26 times greater than that for Suave shampoo
Read full from the Hugger