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Drinking water Recreational water Fish consumption Lake by lake Other issues Resources and references

Other issues in the Great Lakes

Other health issues
    in the Great Lakes

Apart from the major Great Lakes health concerns of drinking water, recreational water, and fish consumption, there are a number of related issues that are interconnected to air and water quality, pollution and contamination, agriculture and industry, and wildlife.

Air quality | Bacterial infection and beach closings | Chlorination by-products
Contaminated soils and sediments | Industrial and agricultural use of water
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) | Radiation | Wildlife populations

Chlorination by-products
Processes commonly used by water treatment plants to disinfect water include the addition of disinfectants such as chlorine to inactivate or kill micro-organisms. Chlorine and other disinfectants can combine with naturally occurring organic matter in the raw water to produce chlorination disinfection by-products. Of the chlorination disinfection by-products, trihalomethanes (THMs) are present in the highest quantities.

Evidence from toxicologic and epidemiologic studies suggests a link between by-products of the chlorination process and increased risk of some cancers (e.g., bladder and colon) and adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., miscarriage, birth defects and low birth weight).

The amount of chlorination required and resulting levels of chlorination disinfection by-products are dependent upon the quality of the raw water, including microbiological quality and organic content. In the U.S., the EPA is developing standards to address the issue of disinfectants and disinfection by-products.

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