What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are either human-made or naturally-occurring chemical compounds with a high vapor pressure at room temperature. This group of organic chemicals contains the carbon element. Even at normal room temperatures, these compounds evaporate or vaporize with ease. VOCs either smell pleasant or come with a strong odor.

According to the EPA, at least 20% of the United States’ water supplies contain VOCs either in small or large amounts. These sweet-tasting organic chemicals can have various health effects when consumed at levels above the EPA’s regulated drinking water standards.

What are the Health Effects of VOCs in Drinking Water?

Exposed individuals may suffer a variety of harmful health effects from impaired immune system function to increased risk of acquiring cancer. The health risks associated with drinking VOC-contaminated water will depend on factors like the level of exposure and length of exposure to said substance. Prolonged exposure to VOCs above the MCL may lead to liver damage and central nervous system issues. Individuals exposed to small amounts of VOCs may experience skin irritation.

What are the Common Sources of VOCs in Water?

Since most of the VOCs found in our water supplies are human-made, we can easily detect them with our sense of smell. Benzene, chlorobenzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, dichlorobenzene, and dichloroethylene are among the more common VOCs found in most water supplies in the United States. When detected, it’s crucial to conduct sampling and testing to acquire the actual concentration of VOCs present in the water supply.

How Do You Remove VOCs from Your Drinking Water?

You can remove volatile organic compounds from your drinking water through aeration, activated carbon filters, Reverse Osmosis, ultrafiltration, and electrodialysis. Since most of the modern-day water filter units utilize activated carbons in their multi-stage filtration systems, you can rest assured your tap water produces safe and clean drinking water.

List of Contaminants

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