Haloacetonitriles vs. regulated haloacetic acids: are nitrogen-containing DBPs more toxic?


Haloacetonitriles (HANs) are toxic nitrogenous drinking water disinfection byproducts (N-DBPs) and are observed with chlorine, chloramine, or chlorine dioxide disinfection. Using microplate-based Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell assays for chronic cytotoxicity and acute genotoxicity, we analyzed 7 HANs: iodoacetonitrile (IAN), bromoacetonitrile (BAN), dibromoacetonitrile (DBAN), bromochloroacetonitrile (BCAN), chloroacetonitrile (CAN), dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN), and trichloroacetonitrile (TCAN). The cytotoxic potency (%C1/2 values) ranged from 2.8 microM (DBAN) to 0.16 mM (TCAN), with a descending rank order of DBAN > IAN approximately BAN > BCAN > DCAN > CAN > TCAN. HANs induced acute genomic DNA damage; the single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) genotoxicity potency ranged from 37 microM (IAN) to 2.7 mM (DCAN). The rank order of declining genotoxicity was IAN > BAN approximately DBAN > BCAN > CAN > TCAN > DCAN. The accompanying structure-activity analysis of these HANs was in general agreement with the genotoxicity rank order. These data were incorporated into our growing quantitative comparative DBP cytotoxicity and genotoxicity databases. As a chemical class, the HANs are more toxic than regulated carbon-based DBPs, such as the haloacetic acids. The toxicity of N-DBPs may become a health concern because of the increased use of alternative disinfectants, such as chloramines, which may enhance the formation of N-DBPs, including HANs.

7 Figures and Tables

Citations per Year

244 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 244 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{Muellner2007HaloacetonitrilesVR, title={Haloacetonitriles vs. regulated haloacetic acids: are nitrogen-containing DBPs more toxic?}, author={Mark G Muellner and Elizabeth D Wagner and Kristin McCalla and Susan D. Richardson and Yin-tak Woo and Michael J. Plewa}, journal={Environmental science & technology}, year={2007}, volume={41 2}, pages={645-51} }