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National Drinking Water Database
p-Dichlorobenzene in Massachusetts
p-Dichlorobenzene is a carcinogenic pesticide used as a fumigant, deodorant, and in manufacture of other industrial chemicals. [read more]
1,4-Dichlorobenzene (para-Dichlorobenzene, p-DCB)
1,4-Dichlorobenzene (p-DCB) is used mainly as an insecticidal fumigant against clothes moths and as a deodorant for garbage and restrooms. It is also used as an insecticide and fungicide on crops; in the manufacture of other industrial chemicals; and in plastics, dyes and pharmaceuticals. In addition, 1,4-dichlorobenzene is used as an "inert" pesticide ingredient, where it functions to make the pesticide more effective (California Environmental Protection Agency 1997a, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 2002l).
1,4-Dichlorobenzene contaminates drinking water from direct application onto crops as a pesticide; as a result of its use as a fumigant and deodorizer; and due to industrial releases into air and water and onto land. Annually, U.S. industrial facilities, mostly chemical factories, release tens of thousands of pounds of 1,4-dichlorobenzene into the environment (USEPA 2009i). The reported releases do not include many major sources of pollution, such as the volumes of 1,4-dichlorobenzene used in pesticides and deodorizers.
According to EPA, short-term exposure to 1,4-dichlorobenzene-contaminated drinking water can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches and eye irritation. Long-term exposure can cause anemia, skin lesions, liver damage, kidney problems and changes in the blood (USEPA 2002l).
1,4-Dichlorobenzene is a known animal carcinogen, and it is classified by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) as "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen (NTP 2002a). High dose exposure in rats causes leukemia and tumors of the kidney, liver and adrenal gland. Occupational exposure to 1,2- and 1,4-dichlorobenzene has been linked with leukemia, and residential use has been associated with liver enlargement, jaundice, weight loss and cataracts. Long-term exposure to the chemical can result in loss of muscle coordination (California Environmental Protection Agency 1997a).
Other effects noted in laboratory animals include: eye and nose irritation; damage to bone marrow, kidney, liver, thyroid, small intestine, heart and lung; altered red blood cell count; impaired sperm development; and DNA damage. Developmental exposure causes decreased growth and abnormal skeletal development (California Environmental Protection Agency 1997a).
The Most Polluted Communities in Massachusetts
1 water utilities reported detecting p-Dichlorobenzene in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average p-Dichlorobenzene level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||Cady Brook Crossing Condominiums|
|75||1 of 3||0.6 ppb|
(0 to 1.8 ppb)
Health Based Limits for p-Dichlorobenzene
|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.||6 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.||63 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.||75 ppb|
|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.||75 ppb|
|Lifetime health-based limit, non-cancer risk||Concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects for a lifetime of exposure. The Lifetime health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is based on exposure for a a 70-kg adult consuming 2 liters of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||75 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.||4000 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.||11000 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.||11000 ppb|
Violation Summary for p-Dichlorobenzene 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||67|