Toxins of Concern to Public Entities
MTBE: methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive chosen by the oil industry to comply with the oxygenate requirement in the Clean Air Act, despite available and safer alternatives.
Concern: Small amounts can affect water’s odor and taste, making it undrinkable. EPA lists it as a possible human carcinogen. Very difficult and expensive to clean up.
Tertiary butanol (TBA): A product of incomplete MTBE degradation.
Concern: Found in many areas where MTBE contamination is a problem. Some evidence that it causes cancer.
BTEX: Acronym for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Found in petroleum products and in the manufacturing of synthetics and some consumer products.
Concern: A known human carcinogen. Prolonged exposure has been linked to central nervous system, respiratory, kidney, liver and blood disorders.
Petroleum Hydrocarbons: chemical compounds found in crude oil, gasoline, diesel, and other solvents and oils.
Concern: Associated with damage to the central nervous system, liver and lung function, and reproductive ability.
Atrazine: A widely used herbicide, particularly on corn and other crops. 77 million pounds sprayed on crops annually in the United States.
Concern: Studies show it causes sexual abnormalities in frogs
and a possible link to prostate cancer in humans. Banned by several European countries.
1,2,3 trichloropropane (TCP): A synthetic chemical used to make other chemicals. Also used as a solvent, paint and varnish remover, and cleaning and degreasing agent.
Concern: The main health effect in animals and people is damage to the respiratory system. Studies show that animals that swallowed low doses for most of their lives developed tumors in several organs
Trichloroethylene (TCE): Chemical used by industry as a degreaser of fabricated metal parts and some textiles.
Concern: Linked to several health conditions, including liver disease and cancer.
Perchloroethylene (PCE or PERC): Chemical used by the dry cleaning industry, textile mills and other industries.
Concern: Studies have shown PERC to cause kidney and liver damage and cancer in laboratory animals.
Vinyl chloride: Chemical used in the manufacturing of plastic, vinyl, PVC pipe and rubber products.
Concern: Linked to liver and brain cancer.
Dioxin: A byproduct of chlorine-based chemicals and hydrocarbons, discharged by waste incineration, electrical plants and chemical manufacturing.
Concern: Known carcinogen. Linked to several forms of cancer.
Ethylene dibromide (EDB): soil and crop fumigant.
Concern: Extremely toxic to humans
VOCs: A group of chemicals also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used widely in industry, manufacturing, and construction.
Concern: Linked to multiple health conditions, including some forms of cancer as well as liver, kidney and neurological damage.
Pesticides: 1,2-dichloropropane, glyphosate, triazines
Concern: Short-term exposure can cause kidney, liver and testicular damage. Long-term effects include sterility and cancer.
Heavy metals: Mercury, lead, copper, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, nickel and others.
Concern: Related to numerous health conditions, including cancer and neurological disorders.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Mix of chemicals banned by EPA; once used in lubricants and coolants.
Concern: Linked to neurological, immunological, skin conditions, and liver damage. EPA lists as probable human carcinogen.