1,4 Dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

2020-11-08

1,4-Dioxane gets around.

It’s on laboratory shelves, a reagent familiar to bench scientists. Some drugmakers use it to purify pharmaceutical ingredients. Filter makers employ it to create tiny pores in membranes. The chemical’s commercial heyday was in the second half of the 20th century, when it stabilized chlorinated solvents used for metal degreasing.

Since then, the chemical’s reputation has dimmed.

In toxicity studies, laboratory rodents given 1,4-dioxane in their drinking water developed liver cancer. The US National Toxicology Program classifies the synthetic compound as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Likewise, the US Environmental Protection Agency deems this synthetic chemical a likely carcinogen. In addition, 1,4-dioxane doesn’t readily biodegrade in the environment, the EPA says.

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Chemical and Engineering News, 8 November 2020
; https://cen.acs.org/environment/pollution/14-Dioxane-Another-forever-chemical/98/i43