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child drinking water from spout

Are you drinking volatile organic compounds?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) states it plainly: “The presence of elevated concentrations of VOCs in drinking water may be a concern to human health.” But what exactly are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

VOCs become vapors or gasses

VOCs are potentially-harmful liquids that easily become vapors or gasses. People are briefly exposed to a common VOC whenever we fill up the car gas tank. Gasoline is a liquid, but when it meets the air, it becomes a vapor you can smell at the pump. In this scenario, people experience minimal exposure in the open air.

Found in common products

These compounds become dangerous, however, when we experience them in high amounts or over a long period of time––or both. VOCs occur in many common products, including paints, varnishes, refrigerants and even personal care products.

VOCs endanger air quality

One neighborhood in Indiana, consisting of fourteen homes, is pressuring state environmental officials to re-test their homes for the presence of VOCs. The community is located near two former building material manufacturers, and residents fear the companies released toxic gasses into the air. Two neighborhood children have been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. 

Toxic in drinking water too

Through cases like the one in Indiana, VOCs may be better known as a toxin in the air, but their presence is also a dire concern in drinking water. VOCs can contaminate groundwater due to liquid spills or improper disposal, and eventually pose a threat to drinking water. In fact, the town of Michigan City, also in Indiana, is dealing with such a crisis now. Town officials recently sued three businesses, including a dry cleaner, that once occupied a site where harmful VOCs seeped into the soil—and the groundwater

Landmark study

From 1985–2001, the USGS took 3,500 water samples from around the United States and tested them for VOCs. The samples were from 2,400 domestic (private) wells and 1,100 public wells. They found the presence of VOCs in 13 percent of the public wells—a rate three times higher than in the private ones. 

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates some VOCs, however, they have relaxed some standards in recent years.

One way to protect yourself and your family against VOCs in your drinking water is to install the Coway Aquamega 100 triple-filter system in your home. It offers a 99.8 percent reduction of common VOCs in the water from your kitchen faucet. As a result, you can enjoy pure, clean water at home, every day.