In the United States, regulations are in place to ensure the quality of drinking water. Such precautions are intended to safeguard the health of the population. However, regulatory guidelines may at times fail to achieve their purpose. This may be due to lack of sufficient data regarding the health hazards of chronic low dose exposure to contaminants or the introduction of new substances that pose a health hazard risk that has yet to be identified. In this review, examples of different sources of contaminants in drinking water will be discussed, followed by an evaluation of some select individual toxicants with known adverse neurological impact. The ability of mixtures to potentially cause additive, synergistic, or antagonistic neurotoxic responses will be briefly addressed. The last section of the review will provide examples of select mechanisms by which different classes of contaminants may lead to neurological impairments. The main objective of this review is to bring to light the importance of considering trace amounts of chemicals in the drinking water and potential brain abnormalities. There is continued need for toxicology studies to better understand negative consequences of trace amounts of toxins and although it is beyond the scope of this brief overview it is hoped that the review will underscore the paucity of studies focused on determining how long-term exposure to minute levels of contaminants in drinking water may pose a significant health hazard.
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