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About Xylenes

Also known as Xylol or dimethylbenzene, is any of the three isomers of dimethylbenzene or a combination of the organic compounds. The chemical elements are transparent, flammable liquids or gases with a sweet odor. The aromatic hydrocarbon is a naturally occurring organic compound in petroleum, coal and wood tar. The chemical formula of Xylene is C6 H4 (CH3)2. The clear liquid or gas exists in three isomeric forms: ortho-, meta-, and para-xylene.

What Types of Industrial Uses Does it Have

The organic compounds are chemical solvents used in industry and medical technology. The use of the naturally occurring chemical element in industrial and consumer products include paint thinners, rubber, printing, leather, and cleaning agents. In the medical industry, xylene is used for tissue processing, staining, and cover slipping. It is also an essential solvent in endodontic retreatment. The chemical is also used in small amounts as an additive in gasoline.

How Does Xylene Get into Your Drinking Water

Xylene can get into water systems mainly from petroleum factories through improper waste management and handling. When used as a solvent, it can quickly get into nearby water supplies if proper handling is overlooked. The other major environmental releases of xylene are due to evaporation, spills during transport, and leaks from stored gasoline and other fuels.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Xylene

Once the level of xylene exceeds the EPA’s MCL of 10ppm, immediate action must be taken to reduce the concentration level in drinking water. Exposure to the contaminant in drinking water within a short period may cause an individual to experience disturbances of cognitive abilities, balance issues, and coordination problems. Long-term exposure to xylene with a concentration level that exceeds the MCL of 10ppm may potentially encounter health effects on their kidney, liver, and central nervous system.

How Common is Xylene in Water?

Xylenes are organic compounds found in many plants. According to EPA’s Toxic Chemical Release Inventory, the chemical element released to both land and water has accumulated to more than 4.8 lbs in the United States of America. The contaminant is found in water systems near petroleum refining sites.

What is the EPA’s Standards for Xylene in Drinking Water?

The EPA’s MCL G for the contaminant xylene in drinking water is 10mg/L or 10 ppm. The standard is set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the public from the potential health threats of the pollutant.

What is the Best Reduction Media for Removing Xylene from Drinking Water?

The best way to remove the contaminant or reduce it to below 10mg/L or 10 ppm is with granular activated carbon. The filter media works best when combined with packed tower aeration. A water filter system also helps in removing contaminants like xylene from your drinking water. Since water runs through different filter media, the impurities are separated as they pass through the system. If you detected the presence of xylene or any other contaminant, you must take the necessary actions to remove the pollutant from your water. Check out The Aquaox water treatment system with multiple filter stages to ensure fresh, crystal clear, and clean drinking water for you and your family!

From The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

CAS ID #: 1330-20-7
Affected Organ Systems: Developmental (effects during periods when organs are developing) , Hepatic (Liver), Neurological (Nervous System), Renal (Urinary System or Kidneys)

Cancer Classification: EPA: Inadequate information to assess carcinogenic potential. IARC: Not classifiable as to carcinogenicity to humans. NTP: Not evaluated

Please contact NTPIARC, or EPA’s IRIS Hotline with questions on cancer and cancer classification.

Chemical Classification: Hydrocarbons (contain hydrogen and carbon atoms), Volatile organic compounds

Summary: There are three forms of xylene in which the methyl groups vary on the benzene ring: meta-xylene, ortho-xylene, and para-xylene (m-, o-, and p-xylene). These different forms are referred to as isomers. Xylene is a colorless, sweet-smelling liquid that catches on fire easily. It occurs naturally in petroleum and coal tar. Chemical industries produce xylene from petroleum. It is one of the top 30 chemicals produced in the United States in terms of volume. Xylene is used as a solvent and in the printing, rubber, and leather industries. It is also used as a cleaning agent, a thinner for paint, and in paints and varnishes. It is found in small amounts in airplane fuel and gasoline.

Xylenes Molecule
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