Complex hydrocarbon pollutants in America`s Water


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Class action litigation continues to dominate the environmental news as it relates to MTBE (the cleaner previously used in gasoline), Perchlorate (primarily found in rocket fuel); and 1,4-Dioxane ( a widely used solvent) found in numerous State’s well and surface waters. Over 33-states currently have imposed their own regulations on MTBE, and the USEPA is reviewing what the Federal standard for both Perchlorate and 1,4-Dioxane will be (though 9- states have already set their own).

The cause in increased chronic health problems across all age and racial demographics is increasingly being determined by the medical establishment to relate to these and other persistent toxins as the main cause—including increased miscarriages and fetal formation and birth abnormalities.

The impact on the cost of private healthcare, let alone the drain on State and Federal health and welfare assistance is unknown—but current analysis estimates the cost per year at over $100 billion dollars. The current USEPA Drinking Water Contaminate List which is out for Public Comment includes phenol (which is a broad category of phenol types); as well as numerous pharmaceuticals.

Aside from perchlorate, MTBE, 1-4,Dioxane, and the majority of the pharmaceuticals are all complex hydrocarbon chemicals that resist both microbial and photo-oxidation. Additionally, carbon absorption has proven a limited ability to remove these compounds or their post-oxidation species.

The sources of these contaminates are many—from direct discharge or spills from manufacturing sites; to discharge from municipal wastewater treatment plants and residential septic systems. This is especially true for 1,4-Dioxane, which is found in numerous cosmetic products as well as household cleaners.

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