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Water: Human Health

Human Health Criteria

Human health ambient water quality criteria are numeric values limiting the amount of chemicals present in our nation's waters. These human health criteria are developed under Section 304(a) of the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Water quality criteria are developed by assessing the relationship between pollutants and their effect on human health and the environment. These criteria are used by states and Indian tribes to establish water quality standards and ultimately provide a basis for controlling discharges or releases of pollutants.

A human health criterion is the highest concentration of a pollutant in water that is not expected to pose a significant risk to human health.

Current National Recommended Human Health Water Quality Criteria lists recommended water quality criteria for the protection of human health.

new icon DRAFT: Updated National Recommended Water Quality Criteria - Human Health

Human Health Research Program

Human Health Research provides the methods, models, tools, and data needed to advance risk assessments to protect public health.

Human Health Methodology | Revised Human Health Water Quality Criteria (December 31, 2003)

Drinking Water

Standards and Health Advisories

Health and Consumer Advisories

Related Technical Documents

Estimated Per Capita Fish Consumption in the United States (PDF) (262 pp, 3.3MB) (August 2002) - EPA and states have used this analysis to develop fish consumption rates for human health ambient water quality criteria.

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