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About Dichloroacetic Acid

DCA Chemical In Drinking Water

The synthetic chemical dichloroacetate, sometimes known as DCA, is employed in medicine and cosmetics. Commercially, it can be purchased as a cauterizing agent, which causes skin burns.

Canadian study that revealed Dichloroacetate (DCA) could stop cancer progression in some cases led to the drug’s rise to popularity in 2007.

Despite some experimental treatments producing intriguing outcomes, DCA has not yet been established to be safe or useful for treating cancer.

About Dichloroacetic Acid

Dichloroacetic acid (DCA), with a molecular weight of 128.936 g/mol, is a chemical compound having the formula CHCl2COOH. Because two of the three hydrogen atoms in the methyl group are replaced with chlorine atoms, it is an acid that is comparable to acetic acid. It has a variety of real-world uses.

Dichloroacetates are the names for dichloroacetic acid salts and esters. Salts of DCA have been studied as possible drugs due to their capacity to inhibit the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase enzyme.

In vitro and animal studies have shown that DCA can delay the growth of some cancers. However, as of 2012, there was insufficient data to justify using DCA as a cancer treatment.

What is Dichloroacetic Acid?

Also known as bichloroacetic acid (BCA), dichloroacetic acid (DCA) is a chemical compound which is an analog of acetic acid. DCA is one of the five haloacetic acids and a member of the chloroacetic acids family. It is an essential chemical compound in medical research, especially in cancer treatment. This type of chloroacetic acid is a trace product of the process of chlorination of drinking water.

How is Dichloroacetate (DCA) Used For Treatment of Cancer Cells?

In a 2007 study, Dr. Evangelos Michelakis used Dichloroacetate (DCA) to treat rats implanted with human cancer cells. The research revealed that DCA had no adverse effects on healthy cells while helping to eliminate malignant cells and reduce tumor size in the rats. Because cancer cells inhibit the mitochondria, which gives a cell its power, they are challenging to eradicate.

According to Michelakis’ research, DCA caused the cell’s mitochondria to reawaken. This technique destroyed the cancer cells. Michelakis claims that Dichloroacetate (DCA) is paving the path for creating more effective medications that activate mitochondria. In both vitro and in vivo settings, DCA can operate as a cytostatic agent without inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).

According to more clinical trials, it is ineffective against some cancers, such colon cancer. In rare cases, it even accelerated the growth of specific malignancies. The DCA clinical trials with human participants was carried out in 2010. In these clinical trials, participants had glioblastomas, which are aggressive brain tumors.

Despite the encouraging results, the American Cancer Society does not advise individuals to use DCA as a substitute for conventional cancer treatment.

Before being suggested as a substitute for chemotherapy in cancer treatment, DCA will need additional time, investigation, and clinical trial data. Additionally, the FDA has not approved for it to be used as a cancer treatment. It is not advised to utilize Dichloroacetate (DCA) as a complementary cancer therapy until more study is conducted.

Side Effects of DCA Treatment for Cancer

According to several animal research, DCA itself can result in liver cancer. According to experience, DCA can be safely used in cancer patients when strictly supervised by a physician. Peripheral neuropathy can be avoided or lessened in intensity by taking acetyl L-carnitine, vitamin B1 (thiamine or benfotiamine), and R-alpha lipoic acid.

Hand tremors, sedation, memory issues, confusion, hallucinations, and mood swings are adverse reactions that seem to be dose- and age-dependent. Patients suffering from DCA induced neuropathy also express concerns regarding indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.

Cancer Cell Proliferation

Cell proliferation is known as the rate at which a cancer cell divides into two cells and copies its DNA. A higher rate of cancer cell division indicates a more aggressive or quickly spreading form of the disease.

A Ki-67 test can gauge how quickly brain cancer cells are proliferating. Testing for the cell proliferation marker Ki-67 can sometimes be used to evaluate therapy outcomes or aid in treatment planning.

However, test outcomes may differ depending on several factors, including the lab performing the test, the test method, and the portion of the tumor is examined.

Cancer Cell Growth

Gene mutation in cancer cells can disrupt a cell’s ability to follow regular instructions, leading to uncontrolled tumor growth or failure to die. Cancer cells behave differently from healthy cells so that a tumor can spread.

Normal cells and cancer cells differ in that they:

  • divide out of control,
  • are immature and don’t develop into mature cells with specific jobs,
  • avoid the immune system,
  • ignore signals telling them to stop dividing or die when they should,
  • stick together poorly,
  • grow into and harm tissues and organs.

Tumor cells will develop and expand as cancer cells multiply. Normal and cancerous cells both require certain things. They need blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to grow and survive.

Because it receives nutrients and oxygen from surrounding blood arteries, tumor cells can overgrow.

What Types of Industrial Uses Does it Have?

The chemical compound is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of other organic materials. DCA is an essential ingredient in pharmaceuticals and medicines. It is also used in the manufacturing of fungicide and topical astringent.

How Does Dichloroacetic Acid Get into Your Drinking Water?

Dichloroacetic acid is a chloroacetic acid and one of the five haloacetic acids. It is a crucial chemical substance in medical research, particularly in the treatment of cancer. A minor byproduct of chlorinating drinking water is this specific form of chloroacetic acid.

Dichloroacetic acid can enter water systems through poor pharmaceutical factory waste disposal.

It can occur in water systems through the chlorination of drinking water, like other haloacetic acids (HAAs). When disinfectants like chlorine or chloramine are used to treat water, they react with the naturally existing organic and inorganic materials present in source waters to produce haloacetic acids.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Dichloroacetic Acid?

Although it is used as a therapeutic agent to treat diabetes, lactic acidosis, and familial hyperlipidemia, DCA in drinking water may cause health problems. Some of these help problems include issues during pregnancy, liver and kidney damages, breast cancer, reproductive difficulties, eyes and nerve problems, and an increased risk of getting cancer.

How Common is Dichloroacetic Acid in Water?

Chlorine is added to the drinking water supply to kill bacteria, which can leave traces of Dichloracetic Acid. Because this routinely occurs, the DCA chemical is common in municipal water as a trace product of the water chlorination.

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

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), engineers working with water, and professionals working in public health all employ many acronyms. It is understandable why so many people have trouble comprehending water quality reports or newly released regulations.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG)

Instead of being a regulatory standard, an MCLG is a non-binding public health aim. These objectives provide a margin of safety by limiting the amount of a pollutant in drinking water to a level that is not dangerous to human health. They do not consider the effectiveness of technology for detection and treatment. They can be set to levels that water treatment facilities cannot reach.

Maximum Contaminant Level

The Safe Drinking Water Act permits the safest concentration of a contaminant in drinkable water from public water systems, and this rule is known as the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL).

Due to the following issues, the MCL may be greater than the MCLG value for a particular contaminant: difficulties in quantifying low levels, lack of treatment technology, and cost-effectiveness.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) – The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standard.

The EPA’s MCLG for Dichloroacetic Acid is zero. The MCL for the contaminant is 0.060 mg/L or 60 ppb.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Reduce Dichloroacetic Acid In Drinking Water?

While eliminating the pollutant’s source is the best approach to clean up your drinking water, water filter systems that use granular activated carbon can help reduce the amount of DCA present to levels below the EPA’s limits for contamination.

With the help of a DropConnect water filter, you can protect your family from dangerous chemical contaminants in tap water.

Activated carbon filters help in chlorination systems for water treatment. Carbon filters remove chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, herbicides, bad tastes and odors, and trihalomethanes.

Reverse osmosis systems and other under-sink filtering options can reduce the chlorine content of your drinking water.

You won’t smell as much chlorine when washing clothes, taking showers, drinking, or cooking, though, thanks to a whole-house filtering system.

The best strategy to lower chlorine levels in your house is to get a high-quality water filter. A water filter that effectively reduces chlorine taste and odor should pass the Water Quality Association’s testing and certification against CSA B483.1, NSF/ANSI Standard 372, and NSF/ANSI Standard 42.


Chemical Names:DICHLOROACETIC ACID; 2,2-Dichloroacetic acid; 79-43-6; Dichloracetic acid; Dichloroethanoic acid; Acetic acid, dichloro-
Molecular Formula:C2H2Cl2O2 or CHCl2COOH
Molecular Weight:128.936 g/mol
Drug Information:Therapeutic Uses  FDA UNII
Safety Summary:Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS)

Dichloroacetic acid, often abbreviated DCA, is an acid analogue of acetic acid in which two of the three hydrogen atoms of the methyl group have been replaced by chlorine atoms. The salts and esters of dichloroacetic acid are called dichloroacetates. Salts of DCA are used as drugs since they inhibit the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. Early reports of its activity against brain cancer cells led patients to treat themselves with DCA, which is commercially available in non-pharmaceutical grade. A phase 1 study in 5 patients concluded that DCA was safe, but wasn’t designed to establish effectiveness. DCA was approved for use in Canada in 1989 (as a topical formulation for treatment of warts and for cauterization and removal of a wide variety of skin and tissue lesions), but was cancelled post market.
Source: DrugBank
Record Name: Dichloroacetic Acid

Description: The DrugBank database is a unique bioinformatics and cheminformatics resource that combines detailed drug (i.e. chemical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical) data with comprehensive drug target (i.e. sequence, structure, and pathway) information

Dichloroacetic Acid molecule
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