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Chloroform Pages5

Chloroform Pages5

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Published by David Lincoln
Recent overview of chronic disease impacts from Chloroform in the air and water from a geographic perspective.
Recent overview of chronic disease impacts from Chloroform in the air and water from a geographic perspective.

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Published by: David Lincoln on Jan 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Why Should You Care?
may be released to the air as a result of its formation in the chlorination of drinking water, wastewater and swimming pools. Other sources include pulp and paper mills, hazardous waste sites, and sanitary landfills. Chloroform does not react quickly inthe atmosphere, so there are significant residual levels from emissions around the country. Human exposure to chloroform may occur through drinking water, where chloroform is formed as a result of the chlorination of naturally occurring organic materials found inraw water supplies. Chloroform may also be found in some foods and beverages, largely from the use of tap water during production processesAlthough most water from domestic wells is not chlorinated prior to use,
Chloroform was the most frequently detected VolatileOrganic Compound (VOC) in samples from drinking-water supply wells (public and domestic wells) in the United States.
Reportedly, chloroform is also
the most frequently detected VOC in a national study of both ground- and surface-water sourcesof drinking water for community water systems
(CWSs).According to the NRDC, at least one sample of about
one fourth of the bottled waters bought in California (23 waters, or 22percent) violated enforceable state limits (either bottled water standards or mandatory warning levels
Chloroform is themost common THM found in tap and bottled water
; it is of particular concern because it is
listed by EPA as a probable humancarcinogen
. Twelve waters purchased in California had at least one sample that exceeded the warning level for chloroform set byCalifornia under Proposition 65, but they were sold without the required health warning.
Chlorine in our water may be a source of increased rates of cancer
. For example, "
consuming chlorinated drinking water isassociated with a 20 to 40% increase in the incidence of colon and rectal cancer
, according to the results of a Norwegian study in1992. Another study done by Harvard University and the Medical College of Wisconsin found that the
consumption of chlorinateddrinking water accounts for 15% of all rectal cancers and 9% of all bladder cancers in North America
. The study also foundthat
people drinking chlorinated water over long periods of time have a 38% increase in their chances of contracting rectalcancer and a 21% increase in the risk of contracting bladder cancer
dangers from inhaling chlorine can exceed those derived from drinking chlorinated water
. The
amount of chloroform, themost common trihalomethane in chlorinated water, inhaled or absorbed through the skin during a typical shower may be 6times higher than that absorbed from chlorinated drinking water.Two studies in 2005 reported changes in chloroform concentrations in the blood as a result of household water use, includingshowering, bathing, and hand washing of dishes. The concentration of chloroform in the blood increased 2- to 7-fold aftershowering.
A surprising but growing concern is the effect that chlorine and other chemicals have on serotonin levels. Recent researchdemonstrates that disinfection by-products may play a role in the development of 
chronic fatigue syndrome
. The chlorine emittedfrom showering and other household water use breaks down into free radicals that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Proven and Probable Carcinogens
The US National Toxicology Program's eleventh report on carcinogens implicates Chloroform as
reasonably anticipated to be ahuman carcinogen
, a designation equivalent to International Agency for Research on Cancer class 2A. The IARC itself classifieschloroform as
possibly carcinogenic to humans
, a Group 2B designation. It has been most readily associated with hepatocellular carcinoma. One study in 2007found a significantly elevated risk of urinary-bladder cancer associated with high levels of chloroform indrinking water. Overall, cohort and case control studies found a relationship between exposure to chlorinated water and the risk of some types of cancer, particularly of the urinary bladder and rectum and possibly of the colon.Some studies also reported associations between colorectal cancer and overall trihalomethane exposure. Few studies of drinking water exposure attempted to distinguish the risk associated specifically with exposure to chloroform, and none controlled adequately or exposure to other trihalomethanes or other risk factors. However, one study found a significantly elevated risk of urinary-bladder cancer associated with high levels of chloroform in drinking water.
Sources and Occurrence
Chloroform is an organic compound and is one of the four chloromethanes. The colorless, sweet-smelling, dense liquid is atrihalomethane, and is considered somewhat hazardous. Several million tons are produced annually as a precursor to Teflonand refrigerants, but its use for refrigerants is being phased out.In industry, chloroform is produced by heating a mixture of chlorine and either chloromethane or methane. Chloroform is acommon solvent in the laboratory because it is relatively unreactive, miscible with most organic liquids, and convenientlyvolatile. Chloroform is used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry and for producing dyes and pesticides. Plant material iscommonly extracted with chloroform for pharmaceutical processing. For example, it is used in commerce to extract morphinefrom poppies. Caution is mandated during its handling in order to minimize unnecessary exposure; safer alternatives, such asdichloromethane, have resulted in a substantial reduction of its use as a solvent.It can be used to bond pieces of acrylic glass or Plexiglas. It is also used for DNA and RNA extractions and is a commonsolvent used in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to analyze organic molecules.Chloroform was once a widely-used anesthetic after it was first tested in 1847. Its vapor depresses the central nervous systemof a patient, allowing a doctor to perform various otherwise painful procedures. In the United States, chloroform began to

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