Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drinking water from plastic pipes: Is it harmful?

Date:
November 9, 2011
Source:
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Summary:
Pipe-in-pipe systems are now commonly used to distribute water in many homes. The inner pipe for drinking water is made of a plastic called cross-linked polyethylene. Are these pipes harmful to health and do they affect the taste and odor of drinking water?

Pipe-in-pipe systems are now commonly used to distribute water in many Norwegian homes. The inner pipe for drinking water is made of a plastic called cross-linked polyethylene (PEX). Are these pipes harmful to health and do they affect the taste and odour of drinking water?

Previous international studies have shown that plastic pipes can release substances that give an unwanted taste and odour to drinking water. It has also been suggested that some of these substances may be carcinogenic.

The aim of the study by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was to investigate whether leakage products from these pipes are harmful to health and if they affect the taste and odour of drinking water. These leakage products consist of residues of additives used during production to give plastic pipes their desired properties, as well as any subsequent breakdown products.

The study showed:

  • There are no health risks associated with drinking water from PEX pipes
  • A few types of PEX-pipe may cause prolonged undesirable taste and odour if the water remains in pipes over time
  • Although the taste and odour usually dissipate with use, water from two of the PEX types still had an unpleasant smell and taste after a year
  • The level of volatile organic compounds that leaked from new PEX pipes was generally low
  • The level was further reduced with use
  • No correlation was found between production method and leaking products

Ten different types of PEX pipes available in the Norwegian market were tested for leaching products in a standardised laboratory test. The water was in contact with the tubes for 72 hours.

Three different manufacturing methods produce pipes known as PEX-a, PEX-b or PEX-c. These methods use slightly different additives, but this study found no correlation between production method and leakage products.

2.4-di-tert-butyl-phenol and methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE) were two of the most commonly occurring substances detected in the water in the experiments.

For three types of new pipe, MTBE was detected in higher concentrations than the U.S. government's recommended limits for taste and odour of drinking water (USEPA), but the values were reduced to below this limit after the tubes had been in use for a while.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vidar Lund, Mary Anderson-Glenna, Ingun Skjevrak, Inger-Lise Steffensen. Long-term study of migration of volatile organic compounds from cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes and effects on drinking water quality. Journal of Water and Health, 2011; 9 (3): 483 DOI: 10.2166/wh.2011.165

Cite This Page:

Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Drinking water from plastic pipes: Is it harmful?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108132905.htm>.
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. (2011, November 9). Drinking water from plastic pipes: Is it harmful?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108132905.htm
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Drinking water from plastic pipes: Is it harmful?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108132905.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins