Various methods of disinfection are being successfully used to control water borne diseases due to biological contaminants in water (viruses, bacteria, protozoa). These methods of chemical control are adding chemical contaminants to the drinking water. For example, trihalomethanes may be formed by the interaction of chlorine with humic and/or fulvic acids. In addition, chemical contaminants may arise from natural, agricultural, industrial or distributional sources. Acute or chronic exposures to these chemicals may result in adverse health effects that are immediate or delayed, reversible or irreversible. Since these contaminants rarely occur singly, chemical interactions (additives, synergistic, antagonistic) must be considered. The nature of the adverse health effects can usually be determined from properly designed and executed animal experiments and/or human epidemiological studies. Potentially toxic agents may also be identified by the use of short term or in vitro tests. Other methods of identification of potentially toxic agents include chemical similarity with known toxicants. Attempts should be made to reduce the number of potentially toxic chemical contaminants but the microbiological quality of drinking water must not be compromised.