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Removing Hazardous Waste From Your Water

How Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) Works

Granular Activated Carbon is a highly adsorbent material used to remove contamination from water. Activated carbon has been known as a miracle filter media by many researchers because of its unique ability to remove offensive tastes, odors, color, chlorine and volatile organic chemicals, pesticides, and trihalomethanes (a group of suspected carcinogens). Briefly, activated carbon acts like a sponge, with a large surface area to absorb contaminants in the water. The surface area of one pound of activated carbon is equal to 125 acres. Many scientists believe this is a result of an affinity that these chemicals have for carbon because of Van Der Waal forces. Activated carbon is the preferred treatment and method recommended by the EPA to remove a host of potentially hazardous and possibly carcinogenic chemicals in drinking water.

The data below shows partial contaminants regulated for public water systems by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the maximum contaminant levels, source, health effects and treatment options for each.

Chlorobezene- Source: Used as a solvent for paint and metal manufacturing. Also used in insecticides.MCL: 0.1Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, kidneys, and liver.Treatment: Activated Carbon

CIS-1,2 Dichloroethylene- Source: Used as an industrial solvent in the manufacturing of dyes, perfumes, and lacquers.MCL: 0.07Health Effect: Affects liver, and nervous and circulatory systems. A probable cause of cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Dibromochloropropane- Source: Soil fumigant on soybeans, and cotton. Canceled in 1997.MCL: 0.0002Health Effect: CancerTreatment: Activated Carbon

Dioxin Source: Chemical production by-product; impurity in herbicides.MCL: 0.00000003Health Effect: Affects lungs, liver, and kidney. A probable cause of cancerTreatment: Activated Carbon

Epichlorohydrin- Source: Used in epoxy resins and coating, and in flocculants.MCL: 0Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, kidney, and liver.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Ethylene Dibromide- Source: Used as a gasoline additive and soil fumigant.MCL: 0.00005Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, kidneys, and liver.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Monochloribenezene-Source: Used in the manufacture of pesticides and as a metal cleaner and industrial solvent.MCL: 0.01Health Effect: CancerTreatment: Activated Carbon

PAHs- Source: Coal tar coating, burnings organic matter, volcanoes, fossil fuels.MCL: 0.0002Health Effect: CancerTreatment: Activated Carbon

Phthalate(di 2 e-thylhexyl)- Source: PVC and other plastics.MCL: 0.006Health Effect: Affects skin and liver. Causes nausea. A probable cause of cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Polychlorinated Biophenys(PCBs)- Source: Used in electrical transformers.MCL: 0.0005Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, kidneys, and liver.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Styrene- Source: Used in manufacturing plastic, resins and foams.MCL: 0.01Health Effect: Affects the nervous system. A probable cause of cancer and anesthesia.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Tetrachloroethylene- Source: Used in dry cleaning and as a degreasing agent for metals. Also used for manufacturing rubber, waxes, paints and inks.MCL: 0.005Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. Causes narcosis. Irritant to the respiratory system.Treatment: Activated Carbon

Toluene- Source: Used in gasoline, paint thinners, lacquers, and adhesives.MCL: 1Health Effect: Cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 Total Trihalomethanes(THM's): Chloroform / Bromoform / Bromodichloromethane / Dibromochloromethane-Source: Formed when water containing organic matter is treated with chlorine.MCL: 0.01Health Effect: Affects the nervous system and muscles. A probable cause of cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon, Aeration, Ultra Filtration (20-90%), RO (20-90%)

 1,1 Dichloroethylene- Source: Used in manufacturing dyes, plastic, perfumes, paints and adhesives.MCL: 0.007Health Effect: Affects kidneys and liver and can cause nausea.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 1,1,2-Trichloroethane- Source: Solvent in rubber products, chemical production waste.MCL: 0.005Health Effect: Kidney, liver, nervous system damageTreatment: Activated Carbon

 1,1,1-Trichloroethane- Source: Used in manufacturing of pesticides, plastic, and metals.MCL: 0.02Health Effect: Affects the nervous system. Causes narcosis and probably cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 1,2 Dichlorobenzene- Source: Used in the manufacturing of fumigants, insecticides, waxes, resins, rubber, and asphalt.MCL: 0.6Health Effect: Affects lungs, liver, and kidneys.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 1,2 Dichloroethane- Source: Used in the manufacturing of gasoline, paint, varnish, metal degreasers and insecticide fumigants.MCL: 0.005Health Effect: Kidney and liver damage can cause nausea.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 1,2 Dichloropropane- Source: Used in insecticide fumigants, dry cleaning fluids and in manufacturing of resins, waxes and petroleum products.MCL: 0.005Health Effect: Affects lungs, liver, and kidneys.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene- Source: Used in herbicide production; dye carrier.MCL: 0.07Health Effect: Liver, kidney damage.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 1,4 Dichlorobenzene- Source: Used in moth repellent, germicides, pesticides, and soil fumigants.MCL: 0.075Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. A probable cause of cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 Acrytamide- Source: Flocculants used in sewage and wastewater treatment.MCL: 0Health Effect: Affects the nervous system; a probable cause of cancerTreatment: Activated Carbon

 Adipates- Source: Used in synthetic rubber, food packaging, cosmetics.MCL: 0.4Health Effect: Decreased body weight; liver and testes damage.Treatment: Activated Carbon, Aeration

 Benzene- Source: Used in fuels and as a solvent in manufacturing pharmaceuticals, plastics, pesticides and paints. Often traced to leaking underground storage tanks.MCL: 0.005Health Effect: Leukemia, anemia and possibly cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 Trans-1,2Dichloroethylene- Source: Used as an industrial solvent in the manufacturing of dyes, perfumes, lacquers, and rubber.MCL: 0.1Health Effect: Affects liver, and nervous and circulatory systems.Treatment: Activated Carbon, Ozonation with UV Irradiation

 Trichloroethylene- Source: Used in dry cleaning and as a degreasing agent. Also used for manufacturing rubber, paints, adhesives, resins, oils and fumigants.MCL: 0.1Health Effect: Irritates body tissue. Affects the nervous system. A probable cause of cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 Vinyl Chloride- Source: Used as a plastic adhesive and refrigerant. The main component of PVC pipe.MCL: 0.005Health Effect: Affects the nervous system. A probable cause of cancer.Treatment: Activated Carbon

 Xylenes- Source: Used in manufacturing paint, ink, petroleum and detergents.MCL: 0.002Health Effect: Affects the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, liver, and mucous membranes.Treatment: Activated Carbon

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