First off, we’d like to thank each and every one of you that pointed out a glaring omission in our last posting: We failed to list the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that water treatment systems bearing NSF/ANSI Standard 53 Certification reduce and/or remove.

So, without further ado, get ready for a list of chemicals and chemical compounds that call into the VOC category of NSF/ANSI Standard 53:

alachlor endrin simazine
atrazine ethylbenzene styrene
benzene ethylene dibromide (EDB) 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane
carbofuran haloacetonitriles tetrachloroethylene
carbon tetrachloride bromochloroacetonitrile toluene
chlorobenzene dibromoacetonitrile 2,4,5-TP(silvex)
chloropicrin dichloroacetonitrile tribromoacetic acid
2,4-D trichloroacetonitrile 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene
dibromochloropropane (DBCP) haloketones 1,1,1-trichloroethane
o-dichlorobenzene 1,1-dichloro-2-propanone 1,1,2-trichloroethane
p-dichlorobenzene 1,1,1-trichloro-2-propanone trichloroethylene
1,2-dichloroethane heptachlor trihalomethanes (TTHM)
1,1-dichloroethylene heptachlor epoxide (THM) bromodichloromethane
cis-1,2-dichloroethylene hexachlorobutadiene bromoform
trans-1,2-dichloroethylene hexachlorocyclopentadiene chlorodibromomethane
1,2-dichloropropane lindane chloroform
cis-1,3-dichloropropylene methoxychlor xylenes
dinoseb pentachlorophenol

Note: While the NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for VOC Reduction deos specify just 43 compounds, the list above contains extra entries because the Standard considers three ‘families’ of compounds single entries and then goes on to specifically call out the names of individual compounds within those chemical families.

Where do these things called VOC’s come from?

The VOC Fairy brings them while you sleep… but not really. On the NSF Web Site we found the following definition which we think does an excellent job of describing the origin of VOC’s:

“The category of VOC (Volatile Organic Chemical) includes a number of chemicals that are both man-made and naturally occurring. Water from wells and utilities may contain some of these contaminants. Some VOCs are pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides that seep into the ground water after application. Other VOCs enter the water supply through industrial or other waste disposal. This category also includes total trihalomethanes, which are a by-product of chlorination.”

For those who believe VOC’s cannot get into their water supply because you don’t live in close proximity to industrial complexes or agricultural areas, think again. Once these things enter the environment they, like many other categories of drinking water contaminants, could possibly travel many miles before dissipating to a ‘safe’ level.

Thanks for the chemistry lesson, but…

“Why does any of that matter to me?”

In a nutshell, scientists and health officials have agreed that the presence of any of those chemicals in too high a concentration in water poses a potentially serious health risk to people if they consume the water. Devices that have tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for the reduction of VOC’s must satisfactorily reduce levels of all the chemicals on that list to ‘safe’ levels.