Genotoxicity of drinking water disinfectants in plant bioassays.Environ Mol Mutagen. 2005 Aug; 46(2):96-103.EM
The genotoxicity of two widely used drinking water disinfectants, sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) and chlorine dioxide (ClO(2)), and a new disinfectant, peracetic acid (PAA, CH(3)-CO-COOH), was evaluated in three short-term plant tests: (1) induction of anaphase chromosome aberrations in the root cells of Allium cepa, (2) micronucleus induction in the root cells of Vicia faba, and (3) micronucleus induction in Tradescantia pollen cells. The study was carried out in the laboratory by directly exposing the plants to several concentrations of the disinfectants in redistilled water at unadjusted (acid) and adjusted (neutral) pHs. Both 0.1 and 0.2 mg/l NaClO induced chromosome aberrations in the Allium cepa test at acid pH, but concentrations up to 0.5 mg/l of all the disinfectants were negative at neutral pH. Concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 mg/l NaClO, ClO(2,) and PAA induced micronuclei in Vicia faba at acid pH, while 1-2 mg/l NaClO and ClO(2) and 0.5-2 mg/l PAA gave positive responses at neutral pH. Most of concentrations of ClO(2) produced positive responses in the Tradescantia micronucleus test. In general, the highest levels of genotoxicity were observed under acid conditions; at acid pH, significant effects were induced by low concentrations of ClO(2) and PAA. Since the test concentrations of disinfectants are typical of those encountered in the biocidal treatment of tap water and similar concentrations are consumed daily by a large number of people, the genotoxicity of these compounds may constitute a significant public health concern.