Benzene

Cathal Walsh
Content Creator
Friday, 7th June 2019
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Green and yellow fuel pumps

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Maximum amount allowed in water:

1.0 μg/litre

What is it?

Benzene is a colourless flammable hydrocarbon derived from petrol.  Benzene is used to produce many products including insecticides, pesticides and other fuels  It is produced widely for use in the chemical industry. The chemical industry however has scaled back its use of benzene in recent years in favour of alternative substances.

How does it get into water?

Due to the fact that it is derived from petroleum there is absolutely no chance that benzene finds its way into water naturally.  The main way benzene gets into water is through deposition from the atmosphere, from pollution from chemical plants and through leakage in underground fuel storage tanks.  Basically if you find benzene in your water supply it is due to contamination from a petroleum based product at some stage down the line.

Does it pose a health risk?

Benzene is highly toxic. It is also rapidly absorbed into the body and metabolised by the liver and the bone marrow. It has been shown that exposure to high levels of benzene in air can cause death.  Exposure to lower levels in air for times even as short as 12 months may result in leukaemia. From this we can conclude that benzene does without doubt pose quite a risk to human health.

How Do I check if it is in my water?

The main thing to check here is whether or not there is petrol or some fuel source infiltrating the water source or its delivery system. This however is more of a task for the municipal water services if one is getting water from a municipal supply. If you are getting your water from a well or are still suspect of a benzene contamination then it is best to get a test from an accredited water lab, such as one that may be purchased here.

How do I remove it from my water?

The first and most important step is to reduce source contamination, in doing this one should also ensure that any petrol or diesel facilities or storage are kept well away from their water source.  After this has been done one should flush out their water system to ensure any contaminated water flushed away. A granule activated carbon filter may then be installed to ensure any small traces of benzene are filtered out of the water before consumption.

 

 

 

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