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National Drinking Water Database
Pentachlorophenol in Alabama
Pentachlorophenol is a carcinogenic pollutant discharged from wood preserving factories. [read more]
Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is an organochlorine chemical that was once widely used as a biocide, mostly as a wood preservative, until it was restricted from general public use in 1984. Now, PCP is used industrially as a wood preservative for applications such as power line poles and fence posts. Commercial formulations of pentachlorophenol may be contaminated with cancer-causing dioxins and furans (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) 2001b).
Pentachlorophenol releases into the environment have been associated with industrial discharge from wood preserving factories (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2009b, 2009i).
In laboratory animals, pentachlorophenol causes skin, eye and mouth irritation. Other effects can be found in the liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, nervous system, immune system, and gastrointestinal tract. Pentachlorophenol also affects reproductive function, including decreased sperm counts, and can cause infertility. In addition, pentachlorophenol can be considered an endocrine disruptor because it causes alterations in thyroid hormones. Developmental effects include low birth weight and skeletal abnormalities (ATSDR 2001b).
EPA considers pentachlorophenol to be a probable human carcinogen; it is associated with Hodgkin's disease, leukemia and soft tissue cancers. Pentachlorophenol has also been associated with respiratory tract inflammation, immune suppression, and alterations in thyroid, adrenal and reproductive hormone levels. Developmental exposure to pentachlorophenol is known to adversely affect humans. Accidental exposure in newborn children via contaminated diapers and bedding, where pentachlorophenol was used as an anti-mildew agent in the hospital laundry, was associated with effects on the liver, nervous system and respiratory system, and with death (ATSDR 2001b).
The Most Polluted Communities in Alabama
1 water utilities reported detecting Pentachlorophenol in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average Pentachlorophenol level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||Sylacauga Utilities Board|
|22,250||1 of 5||0.02 ppb|
(0 to 0.1 ppb)
Health Based Limits for Pentachlorophenol
|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.||0.27 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.||0.3 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.||0.3 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.||1 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.||30 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.||300 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.||1000 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.||1000 ppb|
Violation Summary for Pentachlorophenol 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||17|