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Open Access Publications from the University of California

NDMA Formation during Chlorination and Chloramination of Aqueous Diuron Solutions


Formation of the potent carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) during chlorine disinfection of water containing secondary amines is now generally acknowledged. The phenylurea herbicide diuron is one of the most widely used herbicides in California, has been frequently detected in California’s water sources with a transient nature of appearance, and has a structure that suggests it might be an NDMA precursor. This study sought to quantify the potential for NDMA formation from aqueous diuron solutions under varied chlorine and chloramine conditions. NDMA formation was consistently observed even in the absence of added ammonia, which has usually been the source of the nitroso-nitrogen during chloramination of other precursors. It appears that both nitrogen atoms in NDMA are donated by diuron during chlorination in the absence of added ammonia. For a given chlorine and diuron dose, NDMA formation increased in the order OCl-

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