Prior to 1976, N-Nitrosodimethylamine, also known as NDMA (C2H6N2O), was used as an additive in the production of liquid rocket fuel. Today, it is primarily used as a research chemical. NDMA has been recognized as an emergent chemical of concern due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) classification as a probable human carcinogen. NDMA has been found to be a disinfection byproduct in water systems using chlorination and has also been detected in wastewater effluents.
EPA Method 521 is used to detect NDMA at low part per trillion levels. The method uses solid phase extraction designed to minimize analytical interference and the extracts are subsequently analyzed using a large volume injector in conjunction with chemical ionization (CI) gas chromatography and tandem mass spectroscopy (GC/MS/MS) . The U.S. EPA has set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) at 0.002ug/L.