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Home>Water University>Water Contaminants>Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)


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.

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) are a group of chemicals that are formed along with other disinfection byproducts when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water. The regulated haloacetic acids, known as HAA5, are: monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid, and dibromoacetic acid. EPA has published the Stage 1 Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Rule to regulate HAA5 at 60 parts per billion annual average. This standard will become effective for large surface water public water systems in December 2001 and for small surface water and all ground water public water systems in December 2003.

Some people who drink water containing haloacetic acids in excess of EPA's standard over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) can be reduced by RO systems including the RO-3500. The Pentek RO-3500 reduces Haloacetic Acids (HAA5).

Note: This fact sheet is part of a larger publication adapted from U.S. EPA publication: EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.