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Dichlorobenzene In Your Water A Cause For Alarm?

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1,4-Dichlorobenzene (Mothball) Crystals

1,4-Dichlorobenzene (Mothball) Crystals (Photo credit: Paul’s Lab)

Chlorobenzene is a colourless, flammable liquid that is used commonly as a solvent and as an intermediate in the manufacture of other chemicals. It is not naturally occurring and is produced by the chlorination of benzene. Chlorobenzene was once used in the manufacture of pesticides; most notably DDT. Since then its use has shifted to the production of herbicides, dyestuffs and rubber. However, the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality test for dichlorobenzene 1,2 and 1,4. Both of these are side products of the fabrication of chlorobenzene, and both aren’t anything you’d want in your body.

1,2-Dichlorobenzene or ortho-dichlorobenzene is also used as a solvent as well as an insecticide for termites and locust borers. It is also used in softening and removing carbon-based contamination on metal surfaces. 1,4-Dichlorobenzene or para-dichlorobenzene is used as a pesticide to control moths, moulds (notably in tobacco seeds) and mildew. Other uses include disinfectants and deodorants including air fresheners and urinal cakes.

What Happens When We’re Exposed?

When inhaled, which occurs occasionally as an occupational hazard, dichlorobenzene is an irritant of the eyes and respiratory tract. It also affects the liver and kidneys and is considered to have carcinogenic affects. Prolonged exposure can cause skin irritations. When ingested, it can cause increased cholesterol, protein and glucose levels which can have an adverse effect on the liver. Benign liver and adrenal gland tumours have also been reported, which causes this chemical compound to be classified as a probable carcinogen. Symptoms can include nausea and weight loss.

Is it Found In Our Water?

Though the instances of dichlorobenzene appearing in alarming quantities in drinking water are not common, it has been known to enter into drinking water sources by leaching though the soil or from the release of effluents from industrial sites like saw mills, refineries and other manufacturing locations. Releases of these substances in the discharges from municipal and industrial facilities have been noted, and it has also been detected in the discharge from pulp and paper mills in the Strait of Georgia, in landfill sites and sediment tested in various places throughout Canada. Dichlorobenzene is tested for, and removed during the ozonation process in water treatment plants.

Fortunately, It’s Easy To Avoid

Dichlorobenzene has an aromatic scent and can be detected in water, which would make it unpalatable when it is above the ‘aesthetic objective’ of the water quality standards. The maximum allowable amount of dichlorobenzene in drinking water is .005 mg/L. The scent is detectable at less than .003 mg/L. This maximum acceptable contamination is set by determining the least amount that could be considered to have toxic effects on a human consumer over an extended period of time.

How To Be Certain You’re Avoiding It? Use Water Filtration!

Canadian drinking water is tested and filtered to ensure the safest water for consumers, but not everything can be removed from drinking water before it reaches your faucet without compromising the disinfection and filtration of the water for other, more serious contaminants. Don’t leave your family’s health to chance; remove that ‘maximum acceptable concentration’ of chemicals from your drinking water using a reverse osmosis home water filtration system. For more information on a water filtration system for your home, please contact us now, or visit our online store.

If you’re at all concerned about the quality of your water, or you simply want to be certain, you should choose an Aquasafe Home Reverse Osmosis System. An Aquasafe Home Reverse Osmosis system will remove all contaminants from water, including THM’s and HAA’s, producing guaranteed safe water you can count on every time. And it’s only a few cents per liter! Shop online and save today.

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