Dalapon in Water (Everything You Need to Know in 2024)

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Dalapon is a herbicide that hasn’t been used in the US since the late 1990s. This colorless liquid has several known health effects, including kidney damage.

In this Dalapon water guide, we’ve shared everything you need to know about the herbicide, including how it might contaminate your drinking water supply, its potential health effects, EPA regulations for this contaminant, and more.

๐Ÿ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • Dalapon is a herbicide that was used to control grasses on fields of crops and residential gardens. It’s also an identified disinfection by-product.
  • This drinking water contaminant enters water supplies due to runoff from contaminated soils.
  • All uses of Dalapon have reportedly been banned in the US, and Dalapon is no longer found in any registered pesticide products – but it still remains in many drinking water supplies.

โ” What Is Dalapon In Water?

Dalapon is the commercial name for 2,2-Dichloropropionic acid, a selective herbicide that was used to control grasses in agricultural and domestic gardening settings. The organic compound has the molecular formula C3H4Cl2O2 and appears as a colorless liquid.

2,2-dichloropropionic acid is sold in various forms, including liquids and white or tan-colored powders (as sodium or magnesium salts), and has an acrid odor in its concentrated form.

Dalapon was used mainly as a herbicide on crops, including coffee, cotton, corn, beans, and fruit trees. It was also registered for use on lawns, in industrial areas, and in a number of other non-crop applications.

According to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Dalapon is no longer used in registered pesticides and all uses of this chemical in the US have now been canceled. However, other sources talk about Dalapon in the present tense, suggesting that it’s still in use today.

You might hear Dalapon referred to as one of its trade names, including Alatax, Revenge, Basinex, Crisapon, and Ded-Weed.

Dalapon herbicide water contamination from agricultural runoff

๐Ÿšฐ How Does Dalapon Get Into Water?

Dalapon gets into water through runoff from areas that have been treated with products containing this herbicide.

Runoff occurs when rain, snow, or flood water carries pollutants from contaminated land into a surface water supply (like a lake or river).

Dalapon may also be carried by water seeping through soils into underground aquifers and springs, contaminating these groundwater sources.

The herbicide is also an identified disinfection by-product and is thought to occur as a result of chlorine reacting with naturally occurring organic matter in water. At present, we don’t know much about how it is formed, or what concentrations are formed, from this source.

Most water treatment plants don’t have the necessary facilities to reduce or remove Dalapon from water, which is why drinking water supplies in areas affected by this contaminant may contain low levels of Dalapon.

๐Ÿ”Ž How To Know If Your Water Contains Dalapon

Dalapon has an acrid odor, but you’re unlikely to be able to taste this chemical when it’s present in low levels in drinking water.

Here are the two best methods to get an accurate understanding of whether or not your water contains Dalapon.

Check Your Water Quality Report

First, start by checking your Water Quality Report (or Consumer Confidence Report) to see if your water utility has recorded Dalapon as a detected contaminant.

This is only an option if your water comes from a municipal supplier and is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Your water utility is legally required to test and treat drinking water supplies to make them safe for ingestion. If Dalapon has been detected in your supplier’s testing, they should note the range detected and the average concentration from this range.

You can view your Consumer Confidence Report online or contact your water utility to ask for the Report to be sent via email or post.

Water testing data sheet report

Test Your Water

If you want to know exactly how much Dalapon is in your faucet water or you’re on a private water supply that isn’t treated before it reaches your home, you can use a Dalapon water test.

A few laboratories offer testing for Dalapon. You can find tests by searching “Dalapon water test” on Google.

We’ve shared more about how to test your water for Dalapon later in this guide.

๐Ÿšฑ Is Dalapon In Drinking Water Dangerous?

Dalapon in drinking water is considered dangerous because it has several reported health effects when ingested in concentrations above the EPA legal limit.

The EPA reports that Dalapon is readily absorbed by the body, where it’s widely distributed in the blood.

There’s one known health effect of consuming water containing Dalapon for long periods. People who drink Dalapon in their water for numerous years could experience minor kidney changes (specifically increased kidney-to-body weight).

Some experts theorize that long-term exposure to Dalapon in water could cause cancer, but the EPA says that the evidence of Dalapon’s potential cancer-causing abilities is “inadequate”.

Feeling sick after drinking water contaminated with dalapon

๐Ÿ“‰ Is Dalapon In Tap Water Regulated?

Dalapon in tap water is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has established a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 200 PPB (parts per billion) for this contaminant.

The EPA regulates the majority of water utilities serving the public in the US. That means these utilities must test and treat their water accordingly to reduce certain contaminants to within the EPA’s legal limits.

The Maximum Contaminant Level for Dalapon is the maximum concentration that the EPA believes can be safely present in drinking water based on tests into the herbicide’s potential health effects.

The MCL has been established to protect public health. If you drink water that contains more than 200 PPB of Dalapon for several years, you’re at risk of kidney problems.

It’s important to note these EPA regulations if you get your water from a private supply, such as a well, since it’s your responsibility to test and treat your water to make it safe for drinking.

๐Ÿงช How To Test For Dalapon In Tap Water

There are a few laboratory Dalapon tests that you can buy online, although information about pricing isn’t readily available.

It’s likely that a Dalapon test will set you back in excess of $50 – potentially even $100 – so we only recommend testing for this contaminant if you have a specific reason to be concerned about elevated levels of this herbicide in your water.

Laboratory testing involves taking a sample of your water and sending it to the lab for analysis.

We recommend looking for a test sold by a certified laboratory with documented positive customer feedback.

To test for Dalapon in your water with a laboratory test, follow these steps:

  1. Order your test and wait for it to be delivered to your home.
  2. Take one or several water samples, following the test instructions, and send them back to the laboratory in the provided containers.
  3. Wait for the results of the lab analysis (usually within 7-10 days).
Getting tap water tested for dalapon with tapscore

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝโ€โš•๏ธ What To Do If You’re Concerned About Dalapon In Your Water

If you’re concerned about Dalapon drinking water contamination, we suggest taking the following steps:

  • Find out if your state has issues with Dalapon in its local drinking water supplies. You can check this EWG Dalapon database to see which states have reported Dalapon in drinking water, and how many utilities in these states are affected.
  • Even if your water utility has reported Dalapon as a trace contaminant, it shouldn’t exceed the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). If you don’t want to drink even legally “safe” levels of this herbicide, you’ll need to install a water treatment system to remove it at home.
  • You might be at risk of exposure to Dalapon in a private well supply. In this case, you will need to test for and treat your water for Dalapon to make it safe to drink.
  • If you think you’ve been exposed to Dalapon and you’re concerned about your health, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Springwell cf4 whole house water filtration system with pre-filter uses activated carbon to tackle dalapon in water

โš ๏ธ Other Ways You Might Be Exposed To Dalapon

The main source of exposure to Dalapon appears to be in the remaining trace amounts of this herbicide left behind in drinking water. The only other possible cause of exposure to this chemical is as a byproduct of drinking water disinfection.

So, it’s unlikely that you’ll be exposed to Dalapon in any other manner. We can’t find any reports to suggest that Dalapon is still used as a herbicide, which means it shouldn’t contaminate any of our foods or the atmosphere, and there shouldn’t be an occupational risk of using this chemical.

๐Ÿ“‘ Final Word: Removing Dalapon From Water

Long-term exposure to the herbicide Dalapon has the potential to cause minor kidney changes, so we don’t blame you for wanting to limit your exposure to this contaminant if it’s found routinely in your local drinking water supply.

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง The most effective method of removing Dalapon from water is with a granular activated carbon filter.

A GAC filter adsorbs chemical contaminants, including most pesticides and herbicides, pulling them out of water while allowing the water molecules to pass through.

Make sure to find a filter that’s sold by a reputable manufacturer, has plenty of positive customer feedback, and has test data that supports the manufacturer’s contaminant removal claims.

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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