Priority Contaminants & Status Reports
This list contains both those contaminants that MassDEP initially targeted in 2007 and continues to work on, as well as other contaminants the agency has identified since as requiring its attention.
Newly identified as a contaminant of emerging concern in July 2013, this heterocyclic compound is used mainly as a solvent or solvent stabilizer.
- Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae)
Also newly identified as an emerging contaminant in July 2013, these bacteria produce toxins which accumulate in water, and in high concentrations can even kill animals and people.
- Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)
MTBE is an organic compound once widely used as a gasoline additive. Since petroleum refiners no longer use MTBE, no further action is needed.
There are a wide variety of potential biomedical, electronic, optical and other applications for these tiny particles that are about one-billionth of a meter in size.
Perchlorate salts, derived from perchloric acid, are used extensively in fireworks.
- Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products & Endocrine Blocking Compounds
Although cosmetics and drugs have been used and prescribed for centuries, advances in scientific detection have only recently raised concerns about the presence of these chemicals in the environment.
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
PDBEs are organobromide compounds used as flame retardants.
- RDX or Royal Demolition Explosive (Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine)
This nitroamine compound was widely used by the military during World War II. MassDEP has established cleanup standards in 310 CMR 40.0000: The Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP).
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
Often referred to as Perc, this chlorocarbon is widely used in the dry cleaning industry.
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
This chlorinated hydrocarbon is commonly used as an industrial solvent.
For More Information
Contact C. Mark Smith, Acting Director of the MassDEP Office of Research & Standards, at C.Mark.Smith@state.ma.us or 617-292-5509.