Carcinogenicity

There is insufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of chloroform in humans, but sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity in animals (reviewed in Chiu et al., 1996, IARC, 1999). On the basis of these data, chloroform may reasonably be anticipated to be a human carcinogen (Davidson et al., 1982). The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies chloroform as Group 2B, possibly carcinogenic in humans (IARC, 1999). The mode of action of chloroform carcinogenesis is unknown (Chiu et al., 1996).

Several studies suggest an association between ingestion of chlorinated water and cancer in humans (reviewed in ATSDR, 1997). However, the results are not conclusive. These studies usually measure trihalomethanes, of which chloroform is present in the greatest quantity, but there are many other by-products of water chlorination that may be confounding factors (see Boorman et al., 1999 for a review of toxicity evaluations of drinking water disinfection by-products; or IPCS, 2000).

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