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National Drinking Water Database
Ethylene dibromide (EDB) in Massachusetts
Ethylene dibromide is a a pollutant from petroleum refineries that was formerly used as gasoline additive and a pesticide suspended from use by EPA in 1984. [read more]
Ethylene dibromide (EDB, 1,2-dibromoethane)
Ethylene dibromide is a synthetic chemical that had been used as an additive in leaded gasoline and a pesticide in soil, and on citrus, vegetable and grain crops. The pesticide and the gasoline uses of ethylene dibromide have been discontinued. Ethylene dibromide remains in use as a solvent for resins, gums and waxes; in dyes and drugs; and in wood treatment (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) 1992f).
Drinking water contamination with ethylene dibromide is primarily due to discharges from petroleum refineries (USEPA 2009b).
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), short-term exposure to levels of ethylene dibromide above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) may cause damage to the liver, stomach, kidney and adrenal gland, along with significant reproductive system toxicity, particularly in the testes (ATSDR 1992f; USEPA 2009b). Longer-term exposure to levels above the MCL may damage the respiratory system, nervous system, liver, heart and kidneys, and may cause cancer (USEPA 2009b).
Several studies on men exposed to ethylene dibromide in factories or in pesticides have linked the chemical with decreased sperm quality (Ratcliffe 1987; Schrader 1988; Baranski 1993).
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) considers ethylene dibromide to be "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen because it is known to cause tumors of the forestomach, lung, nasal cavity, blood vessels (hemangiosarcomas), esophagus, mammary gland (breast) and skin in laboratory animals (NTP 2002a).
The Most Polluted Communities in Massachusetts
2 water utilities reported detecting Ethylene dibromide (EDB) in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average Ethylene dibromide (EDB) level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||West Springfield Water Dept|
West Springfield, MA
|28,000||4 of 19||< 0.01 ppb|
(0 to 0.02 ppb)
|2||Falmouth Water Dept|
|77,500||1 of 32||< 0.01 ppb|
(0 to 0.02 ppb)
Health Based Limits for Ethylene dibromide (EDB)
|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|
|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|
|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.||0.02 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.||0.05 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.||2 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.||8 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.||8 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.||300 ppb|
Violation Summary for Ethylene dibromide (EDB) in Massachusetts
Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Massachusetts since 2004
|Violation Type||Number of Violations|
|Failure to monitor regularly||29|