How dangerous is dioxane in your drinking water?

How worried should you be if 1,4-dioxane gets into your drinking water? 1,4-dioxane is an industrial chemical used as a solvent and a stabilizer -- and in areas where there's environmental contamination, safety is an important question, especially as the substance is a probable human carcinogen. The US Environmental Protection Agency has conducted an extensive assessment of the risks of drinking 1,4-dioxane contaminated water. This week's risk bites takes a look at what this assessment means for the city of Ann Arbor, where there's significant 1,4-dioxane groundwater contamination. The Risk Bites Team: Andrew Maynard David Faulkner Alyssa Berry Risk Bites is supported by: University of Michigan School of Public Health. http://www.sph.umich.edu/ University of Michigan Risk Science Center. http://umriskcenter.org Backing track: Based on Blue and Green by Rimsky. http://www.premiumbeat.com/royalty_free_music/songs/blue-and-green Additional Information For twenty years between 1966 and 1986, Gelman Life Sciences, based to the west of the city of Ann Arbor in in Michigan, used 1,4-dioxane as a solvent in the manufacture of medical filters. In 1984 1,4- dioxane was detected by a University of Michigan School of Public Health graduate student in Third Sister Lake close to the company. 1,4-dioxane was subsequently discovered in private water supplies to the west of Ann Arbor in 1985. After nearly 30 years of environmental remediation and legal and community action, the area affected by the groundwater contamination continues to grow. Timeline of the Ann Arbor 1,4-dioxane contamination: http://www.a2gov.org/departments/systems-planning/Sustainability/pls/pages/timeline.aspx The Ann Arbor 1,4-dioxane plume: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/environmental_health/card/PLSPlume_Summary_10222012_plusRW_B.pdf CARD: Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/environmental_health/card EPA Technical Fact Sheet on 1,4-dioxane: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-03/documents/ffrro_factsheet_contaminant_14-dioxane_january2014_final.pdf EPA IRIS risk assessment on 1,4-dioxane: http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0326.htm ATSDR toxicology profile of 1,4-dioxane: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp.asp?id=955&tid=199 EPA toxicity review of 1,4-dioxane: http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0326.htm The University of Risk Science Center is supported by a gift from the Charles and Rita Gelman Educational Foundation. For more information on Risk Science Center, including the Center's funding, mission and guiding principles, see http://www.riskscience.umich.edu/vision-mission/ Risk Bites is your guide to making sense of risk. We cover everything from understanding and balancing the risks and benefits of everyday products, to health science more broadly, to the potential impacts of emerging technologies, to making sense of risk perception. If you enjoy our videos, please subscribe, and spread the word!

LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

More videos by this producer

Tylenol and Hangovers: A Dangerous Mix?

Acetaminophen -- the active ingredient in Tylenol -- is bad news for your liver if you take too much of it. The same is true for alcohol. So should you avoid popping Tylenol to take the edge off the morning-after hangover? Probably yes -- although the biology behind how the two substances interac