Carcinogenicity of potassium bromate administered in the drinking water to male B6C3F1 mice and F344/N rats

Toxicol Pathol. Sep-Oct 1998;26(5):587-94. doi: 10.1177/019262339802600501.


Ozone has been proposed for water disinfection because it is more efficient than chlorine for killing microbes and results in much lower levels of carcinogenic trihalomethanes than does chlorination. Ozone leads to formation of hypobromous acid in surface waters with high bromine content and forms brominated organic by-products and bromate. The carcinogenicity and chronic toxicity of potassium bromate (KBrO3) was studied in male B6C3F1 mice and F344/N rats to confirm and extend the results of previous work. Mice were treated with 0, 0.08, 0.4, or 0.8 g/L KBrO3 in the drinking water for up to 100 wk, and rats were provided with 0, 0.02, 0.1, 0.2, or 0.4 g/L KBrO3. Animals were euthanatized, necropsied, and subjected to a complete macroscopic examination. Selected tissues and gross lesions were processed by routine methods for light microscopic examination. The present study showed that KBrO3 is carcinogenic in the rat kidney, thyroid, and mesothelium and is a renal carcinogen in the male mouse, KBrO3 was carcinogenic in rodents at water concentrations as low as 0.02 g/L (20 ppm; 1.5 mg/kg/day). These data can be used to estimate the human health risk that would be associated with changing from chlorination to ozonation for disinfection of drinking water.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bromates / administration & dosage
  • Bromates / toxicity*
  • Carcinogens / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drinking
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / blood
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Water


  • Bromates
  • Carcinogens
  • potassium bromate
  • Water