What is Toluene and how is it used?
Toluene is an organic liquid with a sweet, benzene-like odor. The largest chemical use for toluene is to make benzene and urethane. Toluene is a chemical that occurs naturally in crude oil and is extracted during the refining process. Toluene is used in many industrial processes and commercial products from paint and printing inks to fabric coatings, artificial sweeteners, cosmetics, flexible foams and automotive parts. Toluene is used as a solvent, especially for paints, coatings, gums, oils and resins, and as raw material in the production of benzene, phenol and other organic solvents and in the production of polymers and rubbers. Most toluene (in the form of benzeneâ€“ tolueneâ€“xylene mixtures) is used in the blending of petrol (petrol combustion is a major source of emissions), and it also occurs as a by-product of styrene manufacture. The MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals) for toluene has been set at 1 part per million (ppm). The MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) has been set at 1 ppm by the EPA.
What are the Health Effects?
Short-term: The EPA has found toluene to potentially cause the following health effects when people are exposed to it at levels above the MCL for relatively short periods of time: minor nervous system disorders such as fatigue, nausea, weakness, confusion.
Long-term: Toluene has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: more pronounced nervous disorders such as spasms, tremors, impairment of speech, hearing, vision, memory, coordination; liver and kidney damage.
How do I remove toluene from my drinking water?
The recommended treatment method is granular activated charcoal.