Water & Contaminants
- Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) List
Alachlor Alachlor Atrazine Benzene Bromodichloromethane Bromodichloromethane Bromoform Carbofuran Carbon Tetrachloride Chlorobenzene Chloroform Chloropicrin 2,4-D Dibromochloromethane(TTHM) Dibromochloromethane(TTHM) o-Dichlorobenzene p-Dichlorobenzene 1,2-Dichloroethane 1,1-Dichloroethylene cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene 1,2-Dichloropropane cis-1,3-Dichloropropylene Dinoseb Endrin Ethylbenzene Ethylene Dibromide (EDB) Haloacetonitriles (HAN):
Heptachlor Heptachlor Epoxide Hexachlorobutadiene Hexachlorocyclopentadiene Lindane Methoxychlor Pentachlorophenol Simazine Styrene 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane Tetrachloroethylene Tribromoacetic acid Toluene 2,4,5-TP(silvex) 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 1,1,1-Trichloroethane 1,1,2-Trichloroethane Trichloroethylene Trihalomethanes (surrogate chemical) Xylenes (total)
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC's) are contaminants that may be found in drinking water supplies across the nation. VOC's are those organic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals) that are "readily vaporizable at a relatively low temperature". With no visible characteristics, smell, or taste, VOC's are virtually undetectable in drinking water by the consumer. The only way to know if your water has VOC's is to have it tested or to obtain test results from local public water supplier. VOC's are often toxic and pose intimidating health risks. Almost every region in Greece has VOC's in the water supplies. Urban areas may get VOC's from industrialization, and rural areas may get VOC's from agriculture. Also, 90% of Greece drinking water is chlorinated (and most likely contains disinfection by-products) thus, VOC's are practically everywhere.
- Cysts (Giardia & Cryptosporidium)
The Surface Water Treatment Rule states that all surface water that may potentially be used for drinking water must be filtered. Unfortunately, problems with Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and newer protozoans (like Cyclospora, which is larger in size than Crypto, thus more easily filtered) are still occurring, predominantly in ground water sources (which do not fall under the Surface Water Treatment Rule). Also, because Cryptosporidium is pliable, it can fold down to one micron in size, thus slipping through most public utilities filtration systems. The only water treatment devices that can effectively filter Crypto are those certified for submicron filtration (less than one micron).
Healthy individuals infected by these parasites experience a cholera-like illness: watery diarrhea, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever. For the immunocompromised, however, the results of infection are much more dire: the parasites can severely damage the liver and respiratory tract, as well as the gall-bladder and pancreas. Even worse, there is a 40 - 50% mortality rate for the immunocompromised who are infected with Cryptosporidium. Those at risk include cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, infants, the elderly, kidney dialysis patients, recent transplant recipients, AIDS patients, and others with suppressed immune systems. To the over 5 million Americans at risk, the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency have issued a guidance to either boil all of their tap water, invest in certain bottled water, or purchase a filter that is certified by UL to remove cysts. As many can attest, boiling all of the tap water can be unduly burdensome. The bottled water alternative also presents problems. Carol Browner, head of the EPA, warned that bottled water is not tested for microbial contaminants like Cryptosporidium, so consumers really don't know what they're getting with bottled water. It just may be the case that point-of-use filtration is the only viable alternative to rid the nation's tap water of these dangerous organisms. Only those filters that are certified under ANSI/NSF Standard 53 for cyst removal are recommended by the CDC and the EPA.
- Endocrine Disrupters
Endocrine Disrupters (PCBs, Chlordane, and Toxaphene)
Recent headlines have warned of the newly-discovered dangers caused by certain Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) known as Endocrine Disrupters. Many industrial chemicals we have been dumping into the ecosystem in huge quantities for years are now thought to interfere with hormones Endocrine Disrupters can get into water supplies in various ways. Since many Endocrine Disrupters are herbicides and pesticides, agricultural run-off can carry these chemicals to water supplies. Some Endocrine Disrupters are products of industrialization and may get into water supplies through various means, such as leakage of storage tanks, accidental spills, or illegal dumping of toxic wastes. With no visible characteristics, smell, or taste, Endocrine Disrupters are virtually undetectable in drinking water
Exposure to such substances has a short term or long term outcome like:
- Skin rushes
- Liver damage
- Birth defects
- Reproductive failure
- Ectopic (tubal) pregnancies
- Damage to the immune system
- Loss of muscle tone
- Weakened reflexes
- Impaired short-term memory
- Lower IQs, and violent behavior.
Chloramine is used instead of chlorine to protect against microbes so as to reduce the level of disinfection by-products in compliance with EPA rules. Americans are concerned about the use of chloramine because there are so may unknowns about this disinfectant and the possible Chloramine by-products. Water disinfected with Chloramine is not suitable for home dialysis machines or fish aquariums. Multi-Pure Drinking Water Systems were tested against the proposed Chloramine standard and the successful completion of that test is reflected in our listing by a footnote. The development of the ANSI/NSF standard is still in process, and a date for releasing it has not been announced. In the meantime, consumers can rely on the UL test results noted on Multi-Pure's Standard 42 Listing for assurance that Multi-Pure Drinking Water Systems effectively reduce chloramines.
- Particulates down to 0.5 micron
Lead, a heavy metal, has no known functions or health benefits for humans. Lead, by its nature, is toxic to humans and other forms of life. It is considered a metabolic poison (meaning it inhibits some of the basic enzyme functions) and untold ills: damage to the kidneys and liver, and to the nervous, reproductive, cardiovascular, immune, and gastrointestinal systems. In children, as scientists have recognized, lead has a particularly damaging effect. Lead iscausing high blood pressure and kidney impairment at unexpectedly low levels. The lead level proved more closely linked to hypertension than several other factors that have been implicated in other studies, including smoking, alcohol, and salt in the diet. These effects are permanent. At higher levels, lead has many additional severe effects including kidney disease, blindness, seizures, and death. In young or unborn children, at very low levels, lead reduces height, weight, circumference of chest and head, damages hearing, reduces the body's ability to manufacture an essential component of red blood cells (called heme), causes hyperactivity, interferes with an important blood enzyme, and interferes with the body's use of vitamin D. Lead consumption in childhood can lead to a lower IQ and impairment in reading, writing, math, visual and motor skills, language, abstract thinking, and concentration. Children may also suffer irritability, insomnia, colic, and anemia. Damage to the child's nervous system is permanent. Children are particularly susceptible to lead's toxic effects because they absorb lead more readily than adults do. Lead can also cross the placental barrier, passing from a pregnant woman's blood to the blood of the fetus; red blood cells of fetuses attract and hold lead more readily than do red cells of adults.
Like lead, mercury is a heavy metal that can have serious health effects. It is an inorganic contaminant that may get into water supplies via natural deposits or through crop run-off or may seep into water supplies near spills and toxic waste sites that are contaminated with mercury. Once mercury has entered the body, it may be months before all of it leaves. At lower levels, Mercury can cause kidney and nervous system disorders. Long-term exposure can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetuses. According to the Hall Water Report, "Pressure is building for EPA to release an overdue report on mercury that suggests the metal is more potent and widespread as a public health threat than previously believed.
- Disinfection By-products
Contaminants that are causing widespread concern as of late are Disinfection By-Products (DBP's). Many believe that DBP's are the single greatest health threat in water supplies. DBP's are contaminants, some of them cancer-causing, that are left behind by the very chemical (chlorine) that utilities use to make their water potable. About 15 years ago scientific testing identified chlorine as a potential health hazard, but it is not the chlorine in itself that is dangerous. Scientists discovered that chlorine reacted with organic material in water, such as decaying leaves, to produce hundreds of chemical by-products, several of which have been proven to be carcinogenic (Trihalomethanes make up the bulk of the cancer-causing DBP's). Other disinfection by-products may cause adverse effects on the liver, and nervous and reproductive systems. The use of chlorine for water treatment to reduce the risk of infectious disease may account for a substantial portion of the cancer risk associated with drinking water.Currently carbon filtration is the only known way to get cancer-causing Trihalomethanes and other dangerous disinfection by-products out of our nation's drinking water.
The second most frequently detected volatile organic chemical in groundwater, MTBE, has been found from coast-to-coast. Today, MTBE is a suspected chemical carcinogen, which the U.S. Geological Survey has found in more than a quarter of the nation's shallow urban wells and in streams, lakes, rain and snow, and even in remote rural areas. MTBE ιs a possible human carcinogen because laboratory rats and mice that breathe or drink it have developed lymphoma, leukemia, testicular tumors, thyroid tumors, and kidney tumors, so far, Multi-Pure Drinking Water Systems were the first to be tested and certified by NSF International to reduce MTBE.
Asbestos is an inorganic compound, found both naturally in the environment and in building materials. Asbestos is a proven carcinogen, and it has been suggested that there may be an elevation in colorectal cancer risk associated with asbestos in drinking water where the naturally occurring levels are high.
Turbidity can be caused by suspended colloidal material (gelatinous or mucinous substance), coliform contamination, and surface water treatment. Although not health threatening in itself, turbidity interferes with disinfection and is related to disinfection by-products (see summary of trihalomethanes above).
- Arsenic V (MP880 Series Only)
Arsenic (abbreviated As) is a naturally occurring contaminant found in many ground waters. Arsenic in water has no color, taste or odor. It must be measured by a lab test. Public water utilities must have their water tested for arsenic. You can get the results from your water utility. If you have your own well, you can have the water tested. The local health department or the state environmental health agency can provide a list of certified labs. There are two forms of arsenic: pentavalent arsenic (also called As(V), As(+5), and arsenate) and trivalent arsenic (also called As(III), As(+3), and arsenite). In well water, arsenic may be pentavalent, trivalent, or a combination of both. Special sampling procedures are needed for a lab to determine what type and how much of each type of arsenic is in the water. Check with the labs in your area to see if they can provide this type of service. Specially formulated Carbon Block systems are very effective at removing pentavalent arsenic. A free chlorine residual will rapidly convert trivalent arsenic to pentavalent arsenic.* Only Multi-Pure's MP880 Series is certified to reduce Arsenic V
- Perchlorate (MP750PlusRO Only)
Perchlorate is a man-made anion commonly associated with the solid salts of ammonium, potassium, and sodium. These salts are highly soluble in water, and because perchlorate adheres poorly to mineral surfaces and organic material, it can be very mobile in surface and subsurface aqueous systems. Perchlorate interferes with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. Because iodide is an essential component of thyroid hormones, perchlorate disrupts how the thyroid functions. In adults, the thyroid helps to regulate the metabolism. In children, the thyroid helps a major role in proper development, in addition to metabolism. Impairment of thyroid function in pregnant mothers may impact the fetus and result in such effects as changes in behavior, delayed development and decreased learning capability. Drinking water contaminated with percholorate is the most likely way perchlorate can be ingested.* Only Multi-Pure's MP750PlusRO is certified to reduce Perchlorate