What are Pesticides & Herbicides?
Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests.
Many of household items contain pesticides as follows:
- Cockroach sprays and baits.
- Insect repellents for personal use.
- Rat and other rodent poisons.
- Flea and tick sprays, powders, and pet collars.
- Kitchen, laundry, and bath disinfectants and sanitizers.
- Products that kill mold and mildew.
- Some lawn and garden products, such as weed killers.
- Some swimming pool chemicals.
How are they regulated?
There are 21 pesticides, herbicides and related compounds that are regulated under the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act. These compounds are commonly referred as Synthetic Organic Chemicals or SOC’s, and public water supplies are required to test for them about once every three years depending on the state and their past analysis. The EPA is continually evaluating new pesticides and herbicides to regulate under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Many public water supplies can get waivers for some of the SOC’s, which means they have not found them in the supply and do not have to monitor for them on a regular schedule.
How can we test for them?
There are many testing methods for detecting pesticide or herbicides. The testing for these types of compounds should be done by a laboratory to get an accurate result. Many methods utilize high sophisticated equipment including Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometer, High Performance Liquid Chromatography.
Water Treatment Options
The best way to remove most pesticides and herbicides is to use activated carbon, which absorbs the chemical onto the carbon. You must be careful when using carbon, as it will eventually become saturated and will start to dump the contaminants back into the water. You must replace the carbon filter on a regular basis to ensure the chemical is not getting back into the water supply.