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Water: Acrolein

Human Health Criteria


Draft Criteria for Acrolein and Phenol

Fact Sheet; EPA 822-F-08-003; September 2008

We are publishing updated draft national recommended water quality criteria for the protection of human health for acrolein and phenol. These updated criteria are based on EPA's Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health (2000 Human Health Methodology) (EPA-822-B-00-004) and, when finalized, will supersede current recommended criteria for these chemicals.

What are human health water quality criteria?

Human health water quality criteria are numeric values that protect human health from the harmful effects of pollutants in ambient water. Under section 304(a) of the Clean Water Act, water quality criteria are based solely on data and scientific judgments about the relationship between pollutant concentrations and environmental and human health effects: they do not consider economic or social impacts.

EPA's national recommended water quality criteria provide guidance to states and authorized tribes in adopting water quality criteria that meet the requirements of the CWA. They are not regulations themselves and do not impose legally binding requirements on EPA, states, territories, authorized tribes or the public.

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How were the water quality criteria updated?

EPA revised the human health water quality criteria based on the Agency's 2000 Human Health Methodology. This methodology incorporates significant scientific advances made in the last two decades, particularly in the areas of cancer and noncancer risk assessments, exposure assessments, and methodologies to estimate bioaccumulation in fish.

The updated water quality criteria integrate new reference doses for acrolein and phenol. These values have already been published in the Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).

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What are the updated human health water quality criteria?

The following tables present the updated draft criteria values as well as the current criteria values and the reference doses used to derive the respective criteria values.

Current Criterion Updated Draft Criterion
IRIS RfD 0.0156 mg/(kg-d) (published 1977) 0.0005 mg/(kg-d) (published 6/03)
Water + Organisms 190 µg/l 6 µg/l
Organisms Only 290 µg/l 9 µg/l

Updated draft criterion for phenol

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Where can I find more information on the updated human health water quality criteria?

For more information, contact Heidi L. Bethel (bethel.heidi@epa.gov), Health and Ecological Criteria Division (4304T), U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20460; (202) 566-2054.

You can find updated national recommended water quality criteria.

The Federal Register Notice is available (September 15, 2008). EPA has also established an official public docket for this action (docket # EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0553).

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