Water quality criteria for 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene

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Journal: Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 1990/04/01
Published: 1990
Authors: Ryon, M. G.;Ross, R. H.
Address: Health and Safety Research Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee 37831-6050.

The occurrence of the munitions compound 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) in groundwater and surface water surrounding U.S. Army ammunition plants may result in contamination of local drinking water supplies. TNT exerts its primary toxic effect in humans on the hematologic system and liver, but it is also known to cause gastrointestinal effects and cataracts. Health effects data were analyzed for TNT and although no controlled human studies exist concerning the acute or chronic toxic effects of exposure to TNT, sufficient animal toxicity data are available to derive an ambient water quality criterion for the protection of human health. This paper summarizes the available literature on metabolism and toxicity of TNT in humans and animals. Based on noncarcinogenic mammalian toxicity data, and following the methodologies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an ambient water quality criterion for the protection of human health of 135 micrograms/liter is proposed when consumption of both contaminated water and fish is anticipated. For drinking water alone, the proposed criterion is 140 micrograms/liter.

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