VOCs, Volatile Organic Compounds, are chemicals commonly found throughout our daily lives. From paints and stains to cleaning products and objects found in and around our homes like carpeting and plastics, they can be problematic not only because of their pervasiveness, but also because prolonged exposure can cause a variety of adverse reactions.
These chemicals are volatile because they can be easily vaporized in the air, ready to be breathed in, and also because they dissolve in water readily, often making contamination quick. As a result, VOCs are nearly ubiquitous environmental pollutants.
VOCs in Your Pacific Northwest Drinking Water
Almost 20% of the nation’s aquifers contained at least one of the 55 known water-soluble VOCs, and in general, well water supplies are more likely to contain one or more of these contaminants. The most common VOCs found in water supplies tend to be trihalomethanes (THMs), especially chloroform, and MtBEs, an additive that was common in gasoline in the late 90s to mid 2000s.
The problem with the pervasiveness of VOCs in our water supply lies in the prolonged exposure, as this is exactly the attribute that makes VOCs harmful for health. Over long periods of exposure, certain VOCs can impair the immune system, central nervous system, and increase risks for certain types of cancers.
VOCs cause varying levels of harm and health side effects based on the route of exposure (consuming in water, versus inhalation, for example), levels of exposure, and the duration of the exposure. So, when drinking water contains these chemicals, the route of exposure is often direct, consistent, and prolonged.
Removing VOCs from Drinking Water
Because VOCs are mostly organic material, carbon filtration can effectively remove them from the environment. The best way to find out if you have VOCs in your drinking water is with a water test. At Culligan, you can schedule a complimentary water test to determine if any VOCs are present in your water, and at what levels.
A Culligan expert can than recommend the right carbon filtration system to remove them for you based on your individual needs. For example, our precision Cullar® Activated Carbon filters are effective at removing not only VOCs but other water contaminants that can make life unpleasant and unappealing all over your home.
If you have any other questions about VOCs in your drinking water, or how Culligan can help, schedule a free water test today!