Workshop report. Health risks of drinking water chlorination by-products: report of an expert working group

Chronic Dis Can. 1998;19(3):91-102.


Studies of water chlorination by-products have suggested a possible increased risk of bladder and colon cancers, as well as adverse reproductive and developmental effects such as increased spontaneous abortion rates and fetal anomalies. A workshop for an expert working group was convened to advise Health Canada on the need for further action. Participants were given background papers and a set of key questions to review prior to the meeting. At the workshop, experts presented an overview of what was known to date on water chlorination by-products from toxicologic studies, epidemiologic studies of cancer and adverse reproductive/developmental effects, and risk assessment. This paper summarizes the information provided in the background papers and presentations, describes the consensus arrived at regarding assessment of evidence for level of risk and presents a number of suggestions for future research.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / epidemiology
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Animals
  • Chlorine Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Halogenated / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Purification*


  • Chlorine Compounds
  • Hydrocarbons, Halogenated