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International Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 949745, 7 pages
Research Article

Identification of Halohydrins as Potential Disinfection By-Products in Treated Drinking Water

1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4M1
2Laboratory Services Branch, Ministry of the Environment (MOE), 125 Resources Road, Toronto, ON, Canada M9P 3V6
3School of Life Sciences, University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford BD7 1DP, UK
4Environmental Innovations Branch, Ministry of the Enviroment 135 Street Clair Avenue West, 11th Floor, Toronto, ON, Canada M4V 1P5

Received 15 June 2011; Accepted 15 August 2011

Academic Editor: Edenir R. Pereira-Filho

Copyright © 2011 Karl J. Jobst et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In 2001, two potential disinfection by-products (DBPs) were tentatively identified as 1-aminoxy-1-chlorobutan-2-ol (DBP-A) and its bromo analogue (DBP-B) (Taguchi 2001). Subsequently it became clear, by consulting an updated version of the NIST database, that their mass spectra are close to those of the halohydrins 4-chloro-2-methylbutan-2-ol and 3-bromo-2-methylbutan-2-ol. To establish the structures of these DBPs, additional mass spectrometric experiments, including Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR), were performed on treated drinking water samples and authentic halohydrin standards. It appears that DBP-A is 3-chloro-2-methylbutan-2-ol and that DBP-B is its bromo analogue. DBP-B has been detected in ozonated waters containing bromide. Our study also shows that these DBPs can be laboratory artefacts, generated by the reaction of residual chlorine in the sample with 2-methyl-2-butene, the stabilizer in the CH2Cl2 used for extraction. This was shown by experiments using CH2Cl2 stabilized with deuterium labelled 2-methyl-2-butene. Quenching any residual chlorine in the drinking water sample with sodium thiosulfate minimizes the formation of these artefacts.