WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency announced pollution standards Wednesday for eight common contaminants of drinking water that, if complied with, should avert 32 cases of cancer a year, officials said.
The eight chemicals, many of them widely used as solvents, include two known causes of cancer, three probable causes, two suspected causes and one toxin that does not cause cancer.
Twenty-nine of the 32 cancer cases that would be avoided result from exposure to just one of the chemicals, vinyl chloride, a known cause of cancer.
The eight new pollution standards, all in the class called volatile organic (carbon-causing) compounds, affect an estimated 1,800 water systems supplied by groundwater and serving about 10 million people where concentrations exceed the new limits. The chemicals generally evaporate from surface water systems, officials said.