When we go to the faucet for water – whether the water is for drinking, bathing, or cooking – we expect it to be safe. While most water supplies are safe, hidden dangers can lurk. One of the potential contaminants found in water supplies are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These compounds can have negative health consequences if ingested. To protect your family from the dangers of VOCs and other contaminants, an Aquasure reverse osmosis system can provide clean, fresh, and safe water for use in your home.
What are VOCs?
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the gases emitted from certain organic chemical solids or liquids. Organic (carbon containing) chemicals can be found in thousands of household and commercial products used in and around the home or commercial environments. When these products are used or stored, they can release molecular compounds in the form of gases or vapors. Common sources of VOCs include:
- Paint strippers
- Cleaners and degreasers
- Hobby supplies
- Aerosol sprays
- Automotive products (fuels, cleaners, lubricants)
- Air fresheners
- Building materials
- Glues and adhesives
Are VOCs Dangerous?
VOCs are emitted by products we use every day. In most cases, the concentration of these gases is very low, particularly in outdoor environments. Indoors, however, the use or storage of certain products like oil-based paints, gasoline, cleaning or degreasing solutions, and aerosol disinfecting solutions can release VOCs in concentrations that can be harmful. Breathing or ingesting VOCs can have damaging effects to health, particularly in long-term exposures to these compounds. Some of these effects can be life threatening. Common health effects include:
- Irritation of mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth/throat
- Liver and kidney damage
- Certain cancers
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Skin rashes
- Dizziness and confusion
Not every VOC is attributed to negative health effects; much of it is determined by the specific chemical compound, length of exposure, and concentration of vapors.
How Do I Know If My Water is Contaminated with VOCs?
Water supplies may become contaminated with VOCs through industrial releases, agricultural runoff, natural disasters, and carelessness. The compounds are emitted as gases from contaminated water sources, including municipal water systems and private wells. Certain water disinfection processes also release VOCs. In fact, one of the most common waterborne VOCs is trihalomethane, a compound that is formed from the chlorination of water supplies containing organic matter. Private well owners and city water systems use chlorine to disinfect water before it is delivered to your home for use in cooking, bathing, and drinking.
Unfortunately, VOC contamination may present no telltale signs. Certain compounds and concentrations may be detected via odors, such as the scent of fuel or paint thinner. Most often, however, these contaminants go undetected. If negative health symptoms appear, it is a common practice to send water samples for laboratory testing to determine if the water is contaminated with VOCs.
Removing VOCs from Water Supplies
Now that we have gained an understanding of what VOCs are and the potential for damaging health effects they can cause, many people wonder how they can be removed from water. An Aquasure reverse osmosis system is designed to remove 99% or more of contaminants from drinking water. These whole house water filtration systems use multiple filter stages to remove contaminants, including VOCs.
Reverse osmosis is the mechanical counterpart to a natural cellular process known as osmosis. In living cells, dissolved substances move through cell walls from areas of low concentration to areas of higher concentration in order to form a balanced solution. In reverse osmosis, water is pumped under pressure through a semipermeable membrane. The membrane has microscopic pores that effectively filter out contaminants, leaving them behind and allowing the purified water to pass through. After filtration, the clean water is available for faucets and other plumbing fixtures.
Four Stages of Filtration
The Aquasure reverse osmosis system is a multi-stage whole house water filtration system designed to provide clean, safe drinking water for use by you and your family. This precision engineered system uses several filtration processes to remove harmful contaminants:
1st Stage: a 5 micron sediment filter traps dirt, rust, and particulate matter
2nd Stage: a 5 micron carbon block filter removes chemical compounds like chlorine, common chemical pollutants, and VOCs. This stage improves water clarity and removes unpleasant odors and flavors.
3rd Stage: the high-efficiency reverse osmosis membrane removes up to 99% of total dissolved solids (TDS) as well as bacteria, viruses, protozoan cysts, heavy metals, and fluoride.
4th Stage: this final stage refines the flavor, odor, and clarity of water by using a coconut-shell based carbon filter element.
As a whole house water filtration system, the Aquasure reverse osmosis system can produce up to 75 gallons per day of clean, pure water for use in your home. The system is installed between the water supply and the faucets or fixtures, ensuring great tasting and safe water for you and for your family.