Graphene oxide is a compound that contains carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It is used in many applications, from sensors to textiles. This material is cheap, readily available, and can disperse in water.
We have received several enquiries asking if Graphene oxide is added to drinking water. We can confirm that graphene oxide is not added.
Water companies can only use products that meet the requirements of regulation 31 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations. Failure to meet these requirements is an offence.
There are no approvals nor applications under consideration for the use of Graphene oxide products in accordance with regulation 31. Additionally, there is no work in the standardisation committee responsible for treatment chemicals and products (filter media) to develop standards based on this substance.
There is a section on our website which lists products that are either approved (in the List of Approved Products), being considered for approval or covered by a BSEN standard (Annex 2). This can be viewed at the link below:
The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) does not decide which products the water industry uses, but our role, as operator of the approval process under regulation 31 of The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016 (as amended) in England and Wales, is to ensure that the requirements of the legislation are met.
Regulation 31 applies to all chemicals and construction products used by water undertakers, from the source of the water, up to the point of delivery to the consumer’s building. It sets out how approvals can be given to such construction products and materials that do not prejudice water quality and consumer safety. This is a rigorous process, and additional information such as extended leaching tests and toxicological data may be required for any application submitted that is considered to represent a potentially higher risk to drinking water quality and the health of consumers.
It is possible that Graphene oxide may be used for treating water in industrial processes such as laundry purposes, but not for drinking water treatment in the UK.