Unlike many water pollutants, Cyanide is not an element that can be found on the periodic table. This water contaminant is a nitrogen and carbon compound held together by a triple bond and easily combines with many other organic and inorganic substances. Due to its natural environmental occurrence, such as in apple seeds as well as many plants, and industrial use in everyday products like plastic, paper, and various fibers, Cyanide is literally all around us. However, if the contaminant’s sinister sounding name feels familiar to you, it probably has nothing to do with the compound’s abundance. Rather, Cyanide has been recognized as a harmful substance throughout most of human history, since its use by ancient Egyptians as a lethal poison, thousands of years ago.
Most Cyanide finds its way into water sources as a direct result of industrial use, such as the dumping of industrial waste and runoff from the poison’s use as insecticide. The compound’s ability to bind with many substances allows industrial Cyanide to spread to groundwater and surface water more easily than other contaminants.
If ingested, the toxic substance Cyanide is easily absorbed by the body, which can lead to a multitude of harmful effects. While high doses of exposure can ultimately lead to death by depriving the body of oxygen, other serious symptoms such as seizures, convulsions, decreased heart rate and loss of consciousness may occur.
Yet, non-lethal doses of the water contaminant can still cause a range of damage. Rapid breathing, increased heart rate, nausea, dizziness, and physical fatigue are all symptoms of low-level exposure to Cyanide. Drinking Cyanide-polluted water has also been shown to decrease reaction time and decision making ability at increased severity in accordance with contamination levels and may cause irreversible neurological damage. In order to protect oneself from these harms, it is important to monitor Cyanide levels in your water supply to assure only benign levels of exposure.
But what exactly is a ‘safe’ level Cyanide contamination? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that a concentration of 0.2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) is the maximum potency at which Cyanide can occur in drinking water without causing bodily damage. EPA regulations legally obligate public water suppliers to monitor Cyanide pollution as well as inform customers if contamination above the approved level shall occur.
Luckily, if you would like to take your water’s health into your own hands, an activated carbon filter is a cheap and reliable method that has been approved to remove Cyanide from drinking water. An activated carbon filter system works by attracting the contaminant like a magnet and then holding the harmful substance in carbon’s pores while water is allowed to pass through freely. Activated carbon filters are not only cost effective and efficient, but also very easy to find. These filters are available at many grocery and drug stores in a variety of easy to use options such as pour able pitchers and faucet-mount water purifiers. (Learn more about activated carbon filtration here: http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/live/g1489/build/g1489.pdf)
Packed tower aeration systems may also be used for Cyanide decontamination because they contain an activated carbon filtration component in addition to adding oxygen to water, though this filtration option is less readily available in stores. If you would like more information about monitoring and improving the health of your water, visit the EPA’s consumer guide, http://water.epa.gov/drink/guide/upload/book_waterontap_full.pdf.
In order to safeguard yourself from serious waterborne problems or risks to health, consider using water filters at home or at institutions. Water filtration for all uses can easily provide protection from contaminants. It is highly recommended to adopt a convenient and affordable water filtration method to fight potentially harmful elements found in Water supply caused due to Water pollution.