Occurrence and mammalian cell toxicity of iodinated disinfection byproducts in drinking water

Susan D. Richardson, Francesca Fasano, J. Jackson Ellington, F. Gene Crumley, Katherine M. Buettner, John J. Evans, Benjamin C. Blount, Lalith K. Silva, Tim J. Waite, George W. Luther, A. Bruce Mckague, Richard J. Miltner, Elizabeth D. Wagner, Michael J. Plewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An occurrence study was conducted to measure five iodoacids (iodoacetic acid, bromoiodoacetic acid, (Z)-3-bromo-3-iodo-propenoic acid, (E)-3-bromo-3-iodo-propenoic acid, and (E)-2-iodo-3-methylbutenedioic acid) and two iodo-trihalomethanes (iodo-THMs), (dichloroiodomethane and bromochloroiodomethane) in chloraminated and chlorinated drinking waters from 23 cities in the United States and Canada. Since iodoacetic acid was previously found to be genotoxic in mammalian cells, the iodo-acids and iodo-THMs were analyzed for toxicity. A gas chromatography (GC)/negative chemical ionization-mass spectrometry (MS) method was developed to measure the iodo-acids; iodo-THMs were measured using GC/high resolution electron ionization-MS with isotope dilution. The iodoacids and iodo-THMs were found in waters from most plants, at maximum levels of 1.7 μg/L (iodoacetic acid), 1.4 μg/L (bromoiodoacetic acid), 0.50 μg/L ((Z)-3-bromo-3-iodopropenoic acid), 0.28 μg/L ((E)-3-bromo-3-iodopropenoic acid), 0.58 μg/L ((E)-2-iodo-3-methylbutenedioic acid), 10.2 μg/L (bromochloroiodomethane), and 7.9 μg/L (dichloroiodomethane). Iodo-acids and iodo-THMs were highest at plants with short free chlorine contact times (<1 min), and were lowest at a chlorine-only plant or at plants with long free chlorine contact times (>45 min). Iodide levels in source waters ranged from 0.4 to 104.2 μg/L (when detected), but there was not a consistent correlation between bromide and iodide. The rank order for mammalian cell chronic cytotoxicity of the compounds measured in this study, plus other iodinated compounds, was iodoacetic acid > (E)-3-bromo-2-iodopropenoic acid > iodoform > (E)-3-bromo-3-iodo- propenoic acid > (Z)-3-bromo-3-iodo-propenoic acid > diiodoacetic acid > bromoiodoacetic acid > (E)-2-iodo-3-methylbutenedioic acid > bromodiiodomethane > dibromoiodomethane > bromochloroiodomethane ≈ chlorodiiodomethane > dichloroiodomethane. With the exception of iodoform, the iodo-THMs were much less cytotoxic than the iodo-acids. Of the 13 compounds analyzed, 7 were genotoxic; their rank order was iodoacetic acid ≫ diiodoacetic acid > chlorodiiodomethane > bromoiodoacetic acid > E-2-iodo-3-methylbutenedioic acid > (E)-3-bromo-3-iodo-propenoic acid > (E)-3-bromo-2-iodopropenoic acid. In general, compounds that contain an iodo-group have enhanced mammalian cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity as compared to their brominated and chlorinated analogues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8330-8338
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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