National Drinking Water Database
1,4-Dioxane in Massachusetts
1,4-Dioxane is a stabilizing chemical in industrial solvents and an emerging groundwater pollutant from solvent recycling and plastic manufacturing; it is a probable human carcinogen. [read more]
1,4-Dioxane is a chemical used primarily as a stabilizer in chlorinated solvents; it is also used directly as a solvent, cleaning agent, adhesive agent, and an ingredient in chemical manufacture and production of pharmaceuticals. 1,4-dioxane releases into the environment are associated with solvent recycling factories; polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic manufacturing; textile processing; printing processes; and manufacturing of detergents, shampoos and other consumer products. Human health risk concerns for 1,4-dioxane are primarily related to exposure from drinking, groundwater and surface waters (NJ Department of Health and Senior Services 2002a; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2009h).
1,4-Dioxane is resistant to biodegradation. Groundwater contamination with 1,4-dioxane is a growing concern in many states (for example, California and Colorado) due to releases from federal facilities and from hazardous waste at Superfund sites (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) 2007c; USEPA 2008b, 2008c; California State Water Resources Control Board 2009; Mohr 2010).
Exposure to 1,4-dioxane can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract, drowsiness, vertigo, vomiting, headache, and at high doses, coma and death. Damage to kidneys, liver and brain has also been associated with 1,4-dioxane exposure. People with existing skin disorders may be particularly susceptible to harmful effects of 1,4-dioxane exposure. 1,4-Dioxane causes cancer in rats (nasal cavity and liver), mice (liver), and guinea pigs (gall bladder). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies 1,4-dioxane as a probable human carcinogen (Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) 1990).
No federal drinking water standards for 1,4-dioxane have been established. Many states and EPA regions have set their own guidelines and action levels (USEPA 2008b). 1,4-Dioxane is currently being reassessed under the EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) system; the new assessment is finding 1,4-dioxane to be significantly more toxic than previously thought (USEPA 2009h).
The Most Polluted Communities in Massachusetts
1 water utilities reported detecting 1,4-Dioxane in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average 1,4-Dioxane level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||Burlington Water Dept|
|23,301||12 of 12||0.98 ppb|
(0.14 to 1.47 ppb)
Health Based Limits for 1,4-Dioxane
|One in one million (10-6) Cancer Risk||The concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 1,000,000. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||3 ppb|
|One in ten thousand (10-4) Cancer Risk||The concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 10,000. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||300 ppb|
|Children's health-based limit for 10-day exposure||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic effects for up to ten days of exposure. The Ten-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||400 ppb|
|Children's health-based limit for 1-day exposure||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects for up to one day of exposure. The One-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||4000 ppb|
Violation Summary for 1,4-Dioxane in Massachusetts
There are no violations reported for this contaminant in Massachusetts