National Drinking Water Database
Heptachlor epoxide in Alabama
Heptachlor epoxide is a beakdown product of heptachlor, a highly toxic and carcinogenic termiticide banned from most applications in the U.S. since 1988. [read more]
Heptachlor epoxide is a breakdown product of heptachlor, which is one of 12 highly toxic persistent organic pollutants (POP), called the "dirty dozen," scheduled for global phase-out under the international POP treaty (Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) 2009).
In the U.S., heptachlor use as a termiticide has been banned since 1988. The only permitted commercial use of heptachlor products is for fire ant control in buried electric power transformers, and in underground cable television and telephone cable boxes (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) 1993, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2009b).
As a class, organochlorine chemicals like heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide are toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative, and lipophilic ("fat-loving"). This means that organochlorine chemicals build up and are stored in fatty tissues and fluids, such as breast milk, and can be passed on to fetuses and infants during pregnancy and lactation. Heptachlor had been released directly to the soil in connection with its use in termite and fire ant control. Heptachlor has been also found in treated wastewater from some types of industrial facilities.
During the late 1970s, heptachlor and/or heptachlor epoxide was detected in drinking water in South Carolina and New Jersey. However, neither of these chemicals was found in any analysis of more than 17,000 wells in California during the period from 1986 to 1992 (California Environmental Protection Agency 1999f).
Short-term exposures above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) may cause damage to the liver and nervous system. Longer-term exposure to these levels may lead to damage to the liver, kidney, spleen and thyroid, and cause cataracts and cancer. EPA classifies heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide as probable human carcinogens (Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) 2001a; USEPA 2009b).
The Most Polluted Communities in Alabama
1 water utilities reported detecting Heptachlor epoxide in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average Heptachlor epoxide level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|12,954||1 of 2||< 0.01 ppb|
(< .01 to 0.0075 ppb)
Health Based Limits for Heptachlor epoxide
|Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)||A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0 ppb|
|EPA Human Health Water Quality Criteria||Water quality criteria set by the US EPA provide guidance for states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to protect human health. These are non-enforceable standards based upon exposure by both drinking water and the contribution of water contamination to other consumed foods. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||<0.01 ppb|
|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.||<0.01 ppb|
|California Public Health Goals||Defined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.||<0.01 ppb|
|Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)||The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0.2 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.||0.4 ppb|
|Drinking Water Equivalent Level||A lifetime exposure concentration protective of adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects, that assumes all of the exposure to a contaminant is from drinking water. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||0.4 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.||10 ppb|
Violation Summary for Heptachlor epoxide in Alabama
Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Alabama since 2004
|Violation Type||Number of Violations|
|Failure to monitor regularly||16|