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Volatile Organic Chemical Contaminants

 

Following is a brief description of the volatile organic contaminates regulated in Florida.

Note: Listed in the MCL column is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) or standard for that contaminant.

Contaminant MCL Health Effects
1,1-Dichloroethylene
(l,l-Dichloroethene)
0.007 mg/L This chemical is used in industry and is found in drinking water as a result of the breakdown of related solvents. The solvents are used as cleaners and degreasers of metals and generally get into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals which cause adverse effects in laboratory animals also may cause adverse health effects in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. EPA has set the enforceable drinking water standard for l,l-dichloroethene at 0.007 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
1,1,1-Trichloroethane 0.2 mg/L This chemical is used as a cleaner and degreaser of metals. It generally gets into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, nervous system and circulatory system of laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Some industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during their working careers also suffered damage to the liver, nervous system and circulatory system. Chemicals which cause adverse effects among exposed industrial workers and in laboratory animals also may cause adverse health effects in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. EPA has set the enforceable drinking water standard for l,l,l-trichloroethane has been set at 0.2 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects which have been observed in humans and laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 0.005 mg/L This organic chemical is an intermediate in the production of 1,1,-dichloroethylene. It generally gets into water by industrial discharge of wastes. This chemical has been shown to damage the kidneys and liver of laboratory animals such as rats exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for 1,1,2-trichloroethane at 0.005 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to 1,1,2-trichloroethane.
1,2-Dichloroethane 0.003 mg/L This chemical is used as a cleaning fluid for fats, oils, waxes, and resins. It generally gets into drinking water from improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. The enforceable drinking water standard for l,2-dichloroethane has been set by DEP at 0.003 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
1,2-Dichloropropane 0.005 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a solvent and pesticide. When soil and climatic conditions are favorable, 1,2-dichloropropane may get into drinking water by run-off into surface water or by leaching into ground water. It may also get into drinking water through improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for 1,2-dichloropropane at 0.005 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to 1,2-dichloropropane.
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 0.07 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a dye carrier and as a precursor in herbicide manufacture. It generally gets into drinking water by discharges from industrial activities. This chemical has been shown to cause damage to several organs, including the adrenal glands. EPA has set the drinking water standard for 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene at 0.07 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene.
Benzene 0.001 mg/L This chemical is used as a solvent and degreaser of metals. It is also a major component of gasoline. Drinking water contamination generally results from leaking underground gasoline and petroleum tanks or improper waste disposal. This chemical has been associated with significantly increased risks of leukemia among certain industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during their working careers. This chemical has also been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause increased risk of cancer among exposed industrial workers and in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. The enforceable drinking water standard for benzene has been set by DEP at 0.001 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in humans and laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
Carbon tetrachloride
(Tetrachloromethane)
0.003 mg/L This chemical was once a popular household cleaning fluid. It generally gets into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. The enforceable drinking water standard for carbon tetrachloride has been set by DEP at 0.003 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
Dichloromethane 0.005 mg/L This organic chemical is a widely used solvent. It is used in the manufacture of paint remover, as a metal degreaser and as an aerosol propellant. It generally gets into drinking water after improper discharge of waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. EPA has set the drinking water standard for dichloromethane at 0.005 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe with respect to dichloromethane.
Ortho-dichlorobenzene 0.6 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a solvent in the production of pesticides and dyes. It generally gets into water by improper waste disposal. This has been shown to damage the liver, kidneys and the blood cells of laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. Some industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during working careers also suffered damage to the liver, nervous system, and circulatory system. EPA has set the drinking water standard for o-dichlorobenzene at 0.6 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to o-dichlorobenzene.
Para-dichlorobenzene 0.075 mg/L This chemical is a component of deodorizers, moth balls and pesticides. It generally gets into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals which cause adverse effects in laboratory animals also may cause adverse health effects in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. EPA has set the enforceable drinking water standard for para-dichlorobenzene at 0.075 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
Cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene 0.07 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a solvent and intermediate in chemical production. It generally gets into water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, nervous system, and circulatory system of laboratory animals such as rats and mice when exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical also suffered damage to the nervous system. EPA has set the drinking water standard for cis-1,2-dichloroethylene at 0.07 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to cis-1,2-dichloroethylene.
Trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene 0.1 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a solvent and intermediate in chemical production. It generally gets into water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, nervous system, and the circulatory system of laboratory animals such as rats and mice when exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical also suffered damage to the nervous system. EPA has set drinking water standard for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene at 0.1 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to trans-1,2-dichloroethylene.
Ethylbenzene 0.7 mg/L This organic chemical is a major component of gasoline. It generally gets into water by improper waste disposal or leaking gasoline tanks. This chemical has been shown to damage the kidneys, liver, and nervous system of laboratory animals such as rats exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for ethylbenzene at 0.7 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to ethylbenzene.
Monochlorobenzene 0.1 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a solvent. It generally gets into water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver, kidneys and nervous system of laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for monochlorobenzene at 0.1 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to monochlorobenzene.
Styrene 0.1 mg/L This organic chemical is commonly used to make plastics and is sometimes a component of resins used for drinking water treatment. Styrene may get into drinking water from improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to damage the liver and nervous system in laboratory animals when exposed at high levels during their lifetimes. EPA has set the drinking water standard for styrene at 0.1 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to styrene.
Tetrachloroethylene 0.003 mg/L This organic chemical has been a popular solvent, particularly for dry cleaning. It generally gets into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed over long periods of time. DEP has set the drinking water standard for tetrachloroethylene at 0.003 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water that meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to tetrachloroethylene.
Toluene 1 mg/L This organic chemical is used as a solvent and in the manufacture of gasoline for airplanes. It generally gets into water by improper waste disposal or leaking underground storage tanks. This chemical has been shown to damage the kidneys, nervous system, and circulatory system of laboratory animals such as rats and mice exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. Some industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during working careers also suffered damage to the liver, kidneys and nervous system. EPA has set the drinking water standard for toluene at 1 part per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to toluene.
Trichloroethylene
(Trichloroethene)
0.003 mg/L This chemical is a common metal cleaning and dry cleaning fluid. It generally gets into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals such as rats and mice when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. The enforceable drinking water standard for trichloroethene has been set by DEP at 0.003 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
Vinyl chloride 0.001 mg/L This chemical is used in industry and is found in drinking water as a result of the breakdown of related solvents. The solvents are used as cleaners and degreasers of metals and generally get into drinking water by improper waste disposal. This chemical has been associated with significantly increased risks of cancer among certain industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical during their working careers. This chemical has also been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals when the animals are exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause increased risk of cancer among exposed industrial workers and in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time. The enforceable drinking water standard for vinyl chloride has been set by DEP at 0.001 part per million (ppm) to reduce the risk of cancer or other adverse health effects which have been observed in humans and laboratory animals. Drinking water which meets this standard is associated with little to none of this risk and should be considered safe.
Xylenes 10 mg/L These organic chemicals are used in the manufacture of gasoline for airplanes and as solvents for pesticides, and as cleaners and degreasers of metals. They usually get into water by improper waste disposal. These chemicals have been shown to damage the liver, kidneys and nervous system of laboratory animals such as rats and dogs exposed to high levels during their lifetimes. Some humans who were exposed to relatively large amounts of these chemicals also suffered damage to the nervous system. EPA has set the drinking water standard for xylenes at 10 parts per million (ppm) to protect against the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water that meets the EPA standard is associated with little to none of this risk and is considered safe with respect to xylenes.

Last updated: January 25, 2013

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