This is a fact sheet about a disinfection byproduct that may be found in some public or
private drinking water supplies. It may cause health problems if found
in amounts greater than the health standard set by the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Disinfection byproducts are formed when disinfectants used in water treatment
plants react with bromide and/or natural organic matter (i.e., decaying vegetation)
present in the source water. Different disinfectants produce different types or amounts
of disinfection byproducts. Disinfection byproducts for which regulations have been
established have been identified in drinking water, including trihalomethanes,
haloacetic acids, bromate, and chlorite.
Bromate is a chemical that is formed when ozone used to disinfect drinking water reacts
with naturally occurring bromide found in source water. EPA has established the Stage 1
Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Rule to regulate bromate at annual average of 10
parts per billion in drinking water. This standard will become effective for large public
water systems by December 2001 and for small surface water and all ground public water
systems in December 2003.
Some people who drink water containing bromate in excess of EPA's standard over
many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
Note: This fact sheet is part of a larger publication adapted from U.S. EPA publication: EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.