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Emergent Chemicals

The following environmental contaminants referred to as “Emergent Chemicals” have recently become compounds of concern due to their detection in groundwater and surface water. These compounds are associated with military and industrial facilities and all have acute to chronic health effects in humans. State governments have set varying limits for these compounds, with California having some of the lowest regulatory limits. American Analytics is using approved published analytical methods and has modified and developed methods to detect these analytes at or below most state regulatory levels. Listed below are the emergent chemicals, test methods and reporting limits that American Analytics has capabilities for:

Emergent Chemical Test Method MRL
Perchlorate EPA 314.0 2 ug/L
Hexavalent Chromium EPA 7199 3 ug/L
1,4-Dioxane EPA 8270C 1 ug/L
1,2,3-Trichloropropane EPA 524.2 0.005 ug/L
N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) EPA 8270C (Isotope Dilution) 0.002 ug/L

Perchlorate (ClO4-) originates as a contaminant in the environment from the inorganic salts of ammonium, potassium, magnesium or sodium perchlorate. Major sources of perchlorate are solid propellants for rockets, missiles and fireworks. This pollutant is exceedingly mobile in aquifer systems. It can persist for many decades under typical groundwater and surface water conditions because of it’s limited reactivity. Perchlorate is among a group of unregulated chemicals requiring monitoring pursuant to Title 22, California Code of Regulations § 64450.

Hexavalent Chromium: This chemical is a dissolved metal that is of has been used in industrial processes, such as metal plating and as a corrosion inhibitor in cooling tower water. Chromium VI is a known human carcinogen that has impacted drinking water aquifers is some states, resulting in well shutdowns. There is no federal or state regulatory standard for hexavalent chromium, however, California is moving forward to set a standard. For now the regulatory standards being used apply only to total chromium, the combined concentration of chromium III and chromium VI. The risk based California drinking water standard or maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 50 ug/L has been established for total chromium (chromium III and VI).

1,4-Dioxane is used as a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particularly 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Releases of chlorinated solvents or VOCs may be a primary source of 1,4-dioxane in the environment but is also found in detergents, shampoos, body lotions, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. 1,4 dioxane has a high potential for entering the environment due to it’s volatility and solubility in water. Spent chlorinated solvents disposed of improperly can contaminate ground and surface water, and 1,4-dioxane has been detected in surface waters throughout the United States. Exposure to small amounts of 1,4-dioxane may lead to significant adverse health effects. The primary routes of exposure include inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact.

1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP): This chemical has been used primarily as a solvent and extractive agent. As a solvent, it has commonly been used as a paint and varnish remover, a cleaning and degreasing agent and a cleaning and maintenance solvent. TCP is not a naturally occurring chemical. Releases to the environment are likely to occur as a result of it’s manufacture, formulation, use in various products, and as a chemical intermediate. TCP is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of malignant tumor formation at multiple sites in many species of experimental animals.

N-Nitrosodimethylamine, also known as NDMA (C2H6N2O) is a product from the decomposition of unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine, a component used in the production of rocket fuel (Aerozine 50). This chemical is used as an additive in liquid propellant fuel for rocket engines. NDMA is used primarily in research, but it can also be formed inadvertently in a number of industrial processes. NDMA is identified as a carcinogen under California’s Health and Safety Code Section 25249.5, et seq., and the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Proposition 65). In addition, the USEPA identified NDMA as a “probable human carcinogen” (USEPA, 1997).

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