Contribution of brominated organic disinfection by-products to the mutagenicity of drinking water

Water Sci Technol. 2004;50(5):321-8.


The activity inducing chromosomal aberrations of the mixture of brominated disinfection by-products (DBPs) was approximately three times higher than that of the chlorinated counterparts for the same hypohalous acid dose. With the combination of chromosomal aberration test and a new analytical technique to differentiate total organic chlorine (TOCl) and total organic bromine (TOBr), it was found that TOBr was correlated to the mutagenicity of chlorinated waters. It was also implied that for a bromide-to-TOC ratio of 0.1 (mg/mg C), brominated DBPs could account for at least 29% of the total toxicity of DBPs formed during chlorination. On the other hand, bromate ion, a major ozonation DBP, was not a major contributor to the activity inducing chromosomal aberrations of the water treated with an ozone/chlorine sequential process. Therefore, ozonation is one possible option to reduce the health risk caused by DBPs even in the presence of bromide.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bromides / chemistry
  • Bromides / toxicity*
  • Chlorine / analysis
  • Chlorine / chemistry
  • Chromosome Aberrations / chemically induced
  • Disinfectants / toxicity
  • Disinfection
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humic Substances / toxicity
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypochlorous Acid / toxicity
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Organic Chemicals / toxicity
  • Ozone / chemistry
  • Time Factors
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Supply*


  • Bromides
  • Disinfectants
  • Humic Substances
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Chlorine
  • Ozone
  • Hypochlorous Acid