VOC contamination of groundwater

VOC Contamination Of Groundwater

VOC contamination of groundwater

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VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are a dangerous contaminant of groundwater. They are generally introduced to the environment through careless industrial practices.


VOCs are responsible for a number of adverse health effects especially for nursing and pregnant mothers. Many of these compounds were not known to be harmful until the late 1960s and it was some time before regular testing of groundwater identified these substances in drinking water sources.

Specific VOCs


Tetrachloroethylene is used in metal degreasing and dry cleaning. It is a suspected to cause cancer, and a host of other health problems.


Trichloroethylene is used in cleaning metal parts and was widely believed to be harmless before being linked to birth defects. It is a suspected to cause cancer, and a host of other health problems.


Toluene is an organic compound which is mostly harmless to adults and is sometimes abused as an inhalant. Fetal Toluene Syndrome has been defined and resembles Fetal Alcohol Syndrome with resultant birth defects, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified differentiating features between the two syndromes including FTS having the additional facial features of micrognathia, large anterior fontanel, down-turned mouth corners, hair patterning abnormalities, bifrontal narrowing of the face, and ear abnormalities.CDC. (2004). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Guidelines for Referral and Diagnosis. Can be downloaded...
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