The Power of Information

National Drinking Water Database


Benzene in Massachusetts


Benzene is a petroleum chemical that contaminates drinking water due to emissions from petroleum and chemical industries, leaching landfills and gas storage tanks. [read more]

The Most Polluted Communities in Massachusetts

6 water utilities reported detecting Benzene in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies

Ranked by highest average Benzene level

RankSystem Population Served Positive test results of total reported tests Average Level
(Range)
1West Brookfield Water Department
West Brookfield, MA
96523 of 251.02 ppb
(0 to 2.1 ppb)
2Walpole Water Dept
MA
24,0611 of 10.7 ppb
(0.7 ppb)
3Maynard Dpw, Water Division
Maynard, MA
10,0374 of 130.42 ppb
(0 to 3.67 ppb)
4Massasoit Hills Trailers
Wellfleet, MA
1201 of 110.09 ppb
(0 to 1 ppb)
5North Chelmsford Water Dist
North Chelmsford, MA
6,8401 of 80.09 ppb
(0 to 0.7 ppb)
6Middleborough Water Supply
Middleborough, MA
20,3861 of 30.03 ppb
(0 to 0.1 ppb)

Health Based Limits for Benzene

StandardDescriptionLevel
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 GoalsDefined 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.0.15 ppb
One in one million (10-6) Cancer RiskThe 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.1 ppb
EPA Human Health Water Quality CriteriaWater 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.2.2 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.5 ppb
One in ten thousand (10-4) Cancer RiskThe 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.100 ppb
Drinking Water Equivalent LevelA 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.100 ppb
Children's health-based limit for 1-day exposureConcentration 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.200 ppb
Children's health-based limit for 10-day exposureConcentration 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.200 ppb

Violation Summary for Benzene in Massachusetts

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Massachusetts since 2004

Violation TypeNumber of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly67