Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Chemistry

First Advisor

Mahmoud Saleh


The generic problem of this paper is a series of studies designed to measure some vital and fundamental information concerning contamination by volatile toxic substances in drinking water. The specific research effort has centered on four volatile toxic substances: chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and chlorodibromomethane. These volatile toxic substances have become widespread environmental pollutants as well as contaminants of the drinking water as a result of the chlorination treatment. This paper reports data on a study of seventeen residential homes in Southeast Harris County, Texas. The levels of toxic substances were compared using the headspace sampling method. 1 2 During the years 1994 and 1995 water samples of seventeen residential homes were collected, iced, refrigerated, and tested within fourteen days of collection. Seventeen of the twenty samples collected contained volatile toxic substances ranging from trace amounts to 16.90 microgram per liter. The levels of chloroform observed were between 0.691 to 16.90 microgram per liter; the levels of dichlorobromomethane were between 0.184 to 3.15 microgram per liter. The levels of dibromochloromethane were between 0.398 to 2.72 microgram per liter; and the levels of bromoform were between 0.475 to 0.874 microgram per liter. The public health significance of volatile toxic substance contamination in drinking water and its effects is the risk of cancer development. The implications of volatile toxic substances as byproducts of the drinking water disinfection process are discussed and several precautionary measures are examined.