This chapter discusses water contaminants that may contribute to the human cancer burden. Specifically, it addresses the epidemiologic evidence for several contaminants and includes information on their levels and environmental distribution, as well as individual susceptibility, where data exist. The three categories of drinking water contaminants that may be carcinogenic and that have been studied most systematically are arsenic, disinfection by-products, and nitrate. In addition, radionuclides, microbiological agents, organic compounds from human commerce, and asbestiform particles have been reported to cause cancer, either as they occur in drinking water or in other media, giving rise to suspicion about their carcinogenicity when ingested. Future research priorities and prevention strategies are discussed.
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