BPA and PVC content in tap water

BPA and PVC content in tap water

Published: 06/03/2023 Times Read: 1767 Comments: 0
When it became clear that lead pipes were contaminating the water with toxic heavy metal residues, the process began to replace them with PVC pipes, believing them to be safer. But studies have revealed that plastic pipes also emit harmful chemicals such as BPA.
What is PVC?
PVC is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. We produce 40 million tons of it every year.
Because PVC is a cheap material, durable and chemically resistant to acids, alcohols and solvents, it is used in many industries. Since the 1960s, it has been the material of choice for water pipes, replacing those made of lead, concrete and cast iron. Unfortunately, we pay a price for this durability. PVC materials are released into the environment, including our water supplies.
Toxic substances in PVC pipes
But perhaps we are paying too high a price for the durability of PVC. A Danish study published in the journal Water Research shows that pipes made of PVC and other polyethylene plastics such as PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) release chemicals into the water. Esters, aldehydes, aromatic hydrocarbons and terpenoids were found in the water samples.
Chemicals disrupting hormone levels Some of the substances that get into the water from PVC pipes are harmful. One example is 4-tert-butylphenol, found at concentrations of 6.6 nanograms per liter in some water samples. This chemical disrupts hormones and lab tests show it can cause reproductive abnormalities.
Plasticizers such as phthalates, which are chemicals added to plastics to make them more flexible, have also come under fire for their negative effects. A review of studies published in the International Journal of Environmental Responsibility and Public Health found that phthalates are linked to male and female fertility disorders (such as lower sperm production and higher risk of miscarriage), abnormalities in puberty and cancer.
That is why a group of over 60 scientists from around the world called for a boycott of the production and use of endocrine disruptors. The European Food Safety Authority recently proposed a 100,000-fold reduction in BPA (a hormone disruptor found in plastics). Unidentified substances can also affect health The longer the water is in contact with plastic pipes, the more chemicals seep into the water.
The following experiment was carried out: water was left in plastic pipes for seven days to assess the impact. The result: more than 20 chemicals were found, most of them alkylphenols, such as butylphenol and phthalates. The danger is mostly in the pipes in the home and the nearby water main. This is because the water in the main water supply is constantly in motion, while indoors it is often stagnant for hours or even days until someone turns on the tap. The temperature in our homes is also often higher. These conditions make it more likely that plastic chemicals will end up in the water. Moreover, the smaller the diameter of the pipe, the greater the contact between the water and the pipe, and this leads to a higher degree of chemical contamination.
It found that only 10% of the chemicals were identified. The remaining 90% remain a mystery - it is not known what they are, nor whether they are harmful to health. Another thing that is not yet clear is whether these substances can enter the body through the skin, for example when showering. However, it has been shown that Bisphenol A can enter the body through the skin.
If you use PVC in your home, I highly recommend that you let the water run for a while in the morning before using it, thus reducing the danger of water with a high concentration of chemicals.
Reverse osmosis water treatment has been proven to remove chemicals from the water and result in water free of toxic substances such as microplastics, limestone, glyphosate, chlorine, PFAS (PFOS/PFOA), lead, copper, etc.

Tags: Water purification

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