BACKGROUND into the atmosphere under room temperature (Tanyanont


With the current increasing population and demand for safe water for domestic
and agricultural uses, there is need to examine water quality by determining
the level of contaminants from the various water sources. There has been a
widespread occurrence of organic chemicals in domestic water raising concerns
because of the health risks associated with these contaminants. Many of these
chemicals have been termed as carcinogenic; others are known mutagens while
others are allergens thus posing a potential health risk to humans (Lapworth et al., 2012)

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One group of these contaminants
is Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are a class of molecules consisting
of carbon atoms with other elements bonded to the carbon atoms such as
hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and chlorine. VOCs will normally volatilize into the
atmosphere under room temperature (Tanyanont & Vadakan, 2012).

Their chemical and
physical properties allow them to move between the atmosphere, soil, surface
water, and groundwater. They are usually contained in many households’ products
such as solvents, paints, adhesives, deodorizers, refrigerants, fuels, and
fumigants. Once in the environment, VOCs can be mobilized, dispersed or
degraded. However, other VOCs can be persistent and degrade slowly over
decades. Once introduced to groundwater, VOCs may persist and potentially contaminate
drinking-water supplies (Rowe et al.,

Exposure to VOCs has
been associated with acute and chronic toxicity in humans. The short term
health effects of VOCs exposure includes; skin, eye, throat and nose irritation.
Headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath may occur. Many
VOCs produce negative health effects if humans are exposed to high
concentrations. Long-term exposure may result in liver and kidney damage,
resulting in elevation of liver enzyme levels and changes in lipid metabolism. Some
VOCs are known or suspected carcinogens (Tanyanont & Vichit 2012).

Synthetic organic
compounds (SOCs) are another class of man-made contaminants that may be present
in ground water. These are man-made substances that contain carbon atoms. They
include; herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals that come from
agriculture, urban storm water runoff, or industrial activities. Examples
include; Atrazine, 2, 4-D, Dioxin and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).

In the developing
countries particularly in Africa, there has been concern on the increasing use
of synthetic organic compounds in the domestic, agriculture and industry.
Concerns have also been raised on the growing concern of exported toxic wastes
to Africa from the countries. This poses a potential threat to water sources
for domestic and agricultural use in these regions. Moreover, in urban areas, these
risks are more significant due to high rate of contaminants disposed in from
industrial wastes (Breivik et al.,

Another group of
contaminants is Inorganic compounds. (Am doing Literature review on this)

There is thus a need to
monitor and detect the presence of these contaminants in various water sources
to ensure that the waters are safe for drinking and agricultural uses. This
project will look on ways to detect and monitor the levels of VOCs, SOCs and IOCs
to ensure that the levels are kept at levels safe for human health.

working on this)









Breivik, K., Gioia, R.,
Chakraborty, P., Zhang, G., & Jones, K. C. (2011). Are
reductions in industrial organic contaminants emissions in rich countries
achieved partly by export of toxic wastes? Environmental science &
technology, 45(21), 9154-9160.

Lapworth, D. J., Baran, N., Stuart,
M. E., & Ward, R. S. (2012). Emerging organic
contaminants in groundwater: a review of sources, fate and occurrence. Environmental
pollution, 163, 287-303.

Lapworth, D., & Stuart, M.
(2012). The challenge of emerging groundwater contaminants.
Groundwater Newsletter, (50), 28-31.

Postigo, C., & Barceló, D.
(2015). Synthetic organic compounds and their
transformation products in groundwater: occurrence, fate and mitigation. Science
of the Total Environment, 503, 32-47.

Rowe, B. L., Toccalino, P. L.,
Moran, M. J., Zogorski, J. S., & Price, C. V. (2007).
Occurrence and potential human-health relevance of volatile organic compounds
in drinking water from domestic wells in the United States. Environmental
Health Perspectives, 115(11), 1539.

Sorensen, J. P. R., Lapworth, D.
J., Nkhuwa, D. C. W., Stuart, M. E., Gooddy, D. C., Bell, R. A., … &
Pedley, S. (2015). Emerging contaminants in urban
groundwater sources in Africa. Water research, 72, 51-63.

Stuart, M., Lapworth, D., Crane,
E., & Hart, A. (2012). Review of risk from potential
emerging contaminants in UK groundwater. Science of the Total Environment,
416, 1-21.

Tanyanont, W., &
Vichit-Vadakan, N. (2012). Exposure to volatile organic
compounds and health risks among residents in an area affected by a
petrochemical complex in Rayong, Thailand. Southeast Asian Journal of
Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 43(1), 201.


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