PROBABLE HEALTH EFFECTS*
Barium Prolonged stimulant action on muscles, nerve block
Benzene Associated with cancer, leukemia, anemia
Cadmium Bronchitis, anemia, gastrointestinal upsets, cancer in rats
Carbon tetrachloride Central nervous system depression, gastrointestinal effects, liver and kidney damage, coma, death
Chlordane* Carcinogen, liver and kidney damage
Chlorobenzene Irritation to respiratory system, central nervous system depression
Chloroform Possible liver, kidney and heart effects; carcinogenic in at least one animal species
Chromium Kidney damage, cancer
Copper Gastrointestinal tract irritant, possible infant fatality, Wilson’s disease
Dichlorobenzene(s)* Suspected carcinogen
1,1-Dichloroethane Central nervous system depression, liver damage, suggested animal carcinogen
1,2-Dichloroethane Nausea, mental confusion, liver and kidney damage
Dichloroethylene* Nausea, dizziness
Ethylenedibromide (EDS) Decreased fertility
Fluoride Skeletal damage when present in high levels
Heptachlor Possible tumor induction, carcinogenic in test animals
Lead Damage to nervous system, kidneys, reproductive system; cancer in rats
Lindane Chronic liver damage, anemia, leukemia
Mercury Kidney impairment, possible death
Methylene chloride* Toxic
Nickel Signs of hyperglycemia and gastrointestinal and nervous disorders
Pentachlorophenol (PCP) Loss of appetite, respiratory difficulties, anesthesia, coma, death
PCBs Damage to skin and liver; nausea, loss of weight, jaundice, coma, death
Selenium Carcinogen; irritation to mucous membranes, dermatitis
Sulfate Laxative action
Tetrachloroethylene Central nervous system effects; confirmed animal carcinogen, anesthesia, death
Toluene Narcosis, irritation to eyes and respiratory system
Toxaphene Possible liver damage
1,1,1-Trichloroethane Narcosis, depression of central nervous system, unconsciousness, death
1,1,2-Trichloroethane Possible liver and kidney effects, possible carcinogen in animals
Trichloroethylene Central nervous system depression, loss of coordination, unconsciousness; strong irritant and carcinogen
2,4,6-Trichlorophenol* Suspected carcinogen
Trihalomethanes (THMs) Effects to nervous system and muscles, loss of consciousness
Vinyl chloride Central nervous system depression, dulling of visual and auditory responses, possible death
Xylene Mucous membrane irritant, lung congestion, impairment of kidney functions
Zinc Muscular stiffness and pain, loss of appetite, nausea
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*The Assembly Office of Research, April 12, 1983, states that the health
effects listed for these substances were compiled from the following sources:
“Drinking Water and Health”,
National Academy of Sciences,
Safe Drinking Water Committee, 1977,
“Contamination of Ground Water by Toxic Organic Chemicals”,
U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, 1981
“Carcinogenic Hazards of Organic Chemicals in Drinking Water”,
R.H. Harris, T. Page, and N.A. Reiches, 1977