Xylenes
EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Organic Chemicals
EPA Levels 1,2 10 MCLG (mg/L)
10 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names none
Sources Discharge from petroleum factories; discharge from chemical factories
Xylenes are a group of chemicals produced from petroleum and released as pollutants from chemical, plastics and synthetic fiber industries as well as printing, painting, and laboratory uses.

Overview

A xylene is any of a group of very similar organic compounds. They are clear liquids with a sweet odor.

Uses

The greatest use of xylenes is as a solvent which is much safer than benzene. Other uses include: in gasoline as part of the BTX component (benzene-toluene-xylene); Xylene mixtures are used to make phthalate plasticizers, polyester fiber, film and fabricated items.

Health Effects

Some people who drink water containing xylenes well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience damage to their nervous system.

EPA Data Source: Xylenes

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.