What is Toluene?

Toluene is either a sweet, pungent, or benzene-like smelling chemical with a molecular formula of C7H8. It is a clear, colorless liquid insoluble in water.

The chemical is an essential ingredient in the production of solvents like paints, oils, gums, resins, and coatings. Toluene is also a vital raw material used in the creation of benzene, phenol, and other organic solvents. It is also a necessary component in the making of polymers and rubbers.

How Harmful is Toluene?

Severe exposure to toluene in drinking water may cause various health effects to the exposed individual, including acute systemic toxicity. Inhalation and skin/eye contact may damage the lungs and kidneys and irritate the eyes and skin.

Is Toluene Soluble in Water?

The colorless, flammable chemical is insoluble in water but soluble in organic compounds like benzene, chloroform, and ether.

Can Toluene Cause Birth Defects?

Exposure to higher levels of toluene in drinking water during pregnancy may lead to children with birth defects, mental retardedness, and growth problems. The other health effects of toluene exposure are eye, nose, and skin irritation, lung and kidney problems, and central nervous system damages.

How Do You Remove Toluene from Drinking Water?

The removal of high levels of toluene to below its MCL is possible with the use of granular activated carbon (GAC) and packed tower aeration. Boiling your tap water will not remove the contaminant. It’s better to install a reliable water filtration system to ensure the safety of your drinking water. With most water filtration units using activated carbon in their filter chambers, they are smart investments for homeowners who encounter this kind of chemical contaminant.

List of Contaminants

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