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National Drinking Water Database

National Drinking Water Database - Chemical Contaminants


Status: Regulated - EPA has established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for this contaminant.

p-Xylene is a petroleum-derived solvent used in the printing, rubber, and leather industries; it is also used as a cleaning agent, a thinner for paint, and an ingredient in paints and varnishes.

Found above
health guidelines
Found above
legal limit
Water utilities
People Served

p-Xylene Exposure by State

Water utilities in 8 states have reported detecting p-Xylene in treated tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies.

StateWater Suppliers with p-Xylene contamination
New Jersey18250,667
New York3044,102
South Dakota2928
New Hampshire10

The Most Polluted Communities

140 water utilities reported detecting p-Xylene in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies

Ranked by highest average p-Xylene level

RankSystem Population Served Positive test results of total reported tests Average Level
1Owego W D NO 2
Apalachin, NY
2,7545 of 79.61 ppb
(0 to 24 ppb)
2Strawberry Hills
La Plata, MD
1,5051 of 26.32 ppb
(0 to 12.63 ppb)
3Marlboro State Hospital
Marlboro Twp, NJ
2801 of 14.1 ppb
(4.1 ppb)
4Cross Point Subdivision
Prince Frederick, MD
4621 of 23.9 ppb
(0 to 7.8 ppb)
5New Woodstock Water District
Cazenovia, NY
4601 of 32.97 ppb
(0 to 8.9 ppb)
6Arena Waterworks
Arena, WI
5251 of 12.5 ppb
(2.5 ppb)
7Perry Point V.A. Hospital
Perry Point, MD
2,0001 of 22.15 ppb
(0 to 4.3 ppb)
8Okolona Waterworks
Okolona, AR
6133 of 52.07 ppb
(0 to 9.08 ppb)
9Jonesboro Water System
Jonesboro, AR
67,9955 of 131.97 ppb
(0 to 10.1 ppb)
10Hounsfield WD 2
Sackets Harbor, NY
5008 of 181.93 ppb
(0 to 7.4 ppb)

Health Based Limits for p-Xylene

Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10000 ppb
Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10000 ppb

Testing Summary for p-Xylene

Are tests routinely required for p-Xylene by federal law?Yes
Water suppliers reporting tests for p-Xylene (2004-2009):7,158 of 47,576
Average testing rate for water supplier reporting tests (2004-2009):0.5 per year

Violation Summary for p-Xylene

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards for p-Xylene since 2004

Maximum Contaminant Level Exceedance Violations0
Monitoring Violations318
Reporting Violations0