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Exposure of population to trihalomethanes in drinking water

The Environment Institute of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a report on the "Exposure of the European population to trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water".

The report is the result of a study, funded by the Commission (DG XI), which loo...
The Environment Institute of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a report on the "Exposure of the European population to trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water".

The report is the result of a study, funded by the Commission (DG XI), which looked at the risks of contamination of drinking water from disinfectant by-products (DBPs). The current second volume presents data on occurrences and exposure levels of DBPs from observations and case studies throughout the EU. This represents the first attempt at European level to collect data of this sort. The first volume of the study, already published, presented information on the different policies of the Member States in respect of disinfection of drinking water.

The findings of the study show both difficulties in assessing accurately the conditions of drinking water in Europe, and wide variations between Member States. The study shows that the proposed limits of disinfectant concentration set out in a Commission proposal of 1994 are technically achievable. However, in those Member States which rely on unfiltered surface water, considerable investment would be required to change the treatment processes. The study also shows the effects on water quality from the distribution system, with increases in THMs of up to three times the level when leaving the treatment plant found in studies of distribution systems.

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