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About Bromoform

What is Bromoform?

Bromoform is one of the four haloforms with chemical formula CHBr3. The substance is a colorless liquid with a sweet, chloroform-like odor. It is an organic, non-flammable solvent with a high density and can be made using the haloform reaction.

What Types of Industrial Uses Does it Have?

The principal use of bromoform is as a laboratory reagent. The substance is also an essential ingredient for making solvent, flame retardant, and sedative in the past. Aside from its use in laboratories, bromoform is also used in geological and electronics testings.

How Does Bromoform Get into Your Drinking Water?

Since bromoform is a disinfection byproduct, it contaminates drinking water when chlorine is added to water systems. It is a residue of the process of chlorination in most municipal water systems in the United States and in almost all parts of the world.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Bromoform?

Long-term or short-term exposure to bromoform in chlorinated drinking water may result in different types of health problems. An individual who consumed levels of bromoform above the EPA’s contamination level standards may experience damages to their nervous system, liver, and kidney.

How Common is Bromoform in Water?

Bromoform is common in many water systems since it is a byproduct of chlorination.

What is the EPA’s Contamination Level Standards for Bromoform in Drinking Water?

EPA has set an MCLG of zero for bromoform and an MCL of 0.080 mg/L or 80 ppb.

What is the Best Reduction Media for Removing Bromoform from Drinking Water?

Since it is a common drinking water contaminant found in tap water due to the adding of chlorine to water systems, most of the water filter systems today are designed to catch the chemical compound to protect the public from its health effects. An AquaOx filter system is built with a multi-stage filtration with granular activated carbon to eliminate bromoform and other chemicals in tap water. Prevent health problems tomorrow by installing a reliable water filtration system today!

From The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

CAS#: 75-25-2; 124-48-1

Public Health Statement PDF PDF Version, 67 KB

Bromoform (also known as tribromomethane) and dibromochloromethane are colorless to yellow, heavy, nonburnable liquids with a sweetish odor. These chemicals are possible contaminants of drinking water that has been chlorinated to kill bacteria and viruses that could cause serious waterborne infectious diseases. Bromoform and dibromochloromethane may form when chlorine reacts with other naturally occurring substances in water, such as decomposing plant material. Plants in the ocean also produce small amounts of these chemicals.

These chemicals are found mainly in water that originally came from surface sources, such as rivers and lakes. Springs and deep drilled wells usually contain very little of the substances that react with chlorine to form these chemicals; therefore, well and spring water is less likely a source of bromoform and dibromochloromethane than water from a reservoir (artificial lake). The amount of bromoform and dibromochloromethane in drinking water can change considerably from day to day, depending on the source, temperature, amount of plant material in the water, amount of chlorine added, and a variety of other factors.

In the past, bromoform was used by industry to dissolve dirt and grease and to make other chemicals. It was also used in the early part of this century as a medicine to help children with whooping cough get to sleep. Currently, bromoform is only produced in small amounts for use in laboratories and in geological and electronics testing. Dibromochloromethane was used in the past to make other chemicals such as fire extinguisher fluids, spray can propellants, refrigerator fluid, and pesticides. It is now only used on a small scale in laboratories.

In the environment, bromoform and dibromochloromethane are not found as pure liquids, but instead, they are found either dissolved in water or evaporated into air as a gas. Both bromoform and dibromochloromethane are relatively stable in the air, but reactions with other chemicals in the air cause them to break down slowly (about 50% in 1 or 2 months). Bromoform and dibromochloromethane in water or soil may also be broken down by bacteria, but the speed of this process is not known.

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Bromoform molecule
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