When many homeowners consider a home water treatment system, they are often worried about bacteria, chlorine, and heavy metals. There are many contaminants that the EPA doesn’t test for, and these materials can have a dramatic effect on the quality of your home drinking water. But, the dangers of styrene are not as well known, and there are water filter systems that can remove styrene from your water. In this article, we will explain what styrene is, how it can affect your health, and how to get rid of it.

What is Styrene?

Many of us are already familiar with styrene as a material used to make disposable cups for drinking water and hot beverages. Styrene is an organic material, it was initially used to produce synthetic rubber materials, but it’s now commonly used to make plastics, resins, and paint products. The industrial processes used to make these products lead to pollution, and this eventually ends up in our waterways and public water supplies.

How Does Styrene Enter the Water Supply?

As we mentioned above, industrial processes create styrene pollution, and you can find water contaminated with styrene near many industrial facilities. A discharge from a rubber or plastic factory will contain elevated levels of styrene. Styrene can also leach into nearby groundwater supplies after products containing this material are dumped in landfill sites. If your home is located near an industrial area or a landfill site, the chances of styrene contamination are much higher. There is a federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) that requires industries to compile an annual report on the release of certain toxic chemicals, including styrene. If you live near a heavily industrialized area, it is possible to discover if styrene has been released into your local environment.

Is Styrene Dangerous to Health?

Sadly, styrene can be hazardous to human health if the material is ingested. Drinking water that’s contaminated with styrene over time can lead to some severe health effects. Styrene has been linked to health problems, such as kidney damage, liver damage, and circulatory system issues. The EPA has set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 0.1mg per liter or 100 parts per billion. When the EPA recognizes a contaminant in this way and assigns it an MCL, it’s a sure sign that styrene is a significant risk.

Do You Have Styrene in Your Drinking Water?

The EPA regulations require a municipal water supplier to routinely test for styrene to ensure it’s under the MCL. But, if you live near a landfill or an industrial area that discharges styrene, this may not offer your home sufficient protection against contamination. If the water treatment facility discovers styrene contamination above the MCL, they must inform their customers within 30 days and correct the problem. This takes time, and during that period, an average household could consume a signficant volume of drinking water contaminated with styrene. Styrene has a floral odor in drinking water, but it’s subtle, and many people cannot detect it with their sense of taste or smell.

What Can You Do About Styrene Contamination?

Adding an additional level of protection at your home to secure a cleaner source of drinking water is a smart move. Many people have now installed their own water filtration systems to remove styrene and many other contaminants from their drinking water. If you want to learn more about home water treatment systems, contact your local WQA certified water treatment specialist for expert help and advice today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.