One of the recent comments on the last post, got me thinking:
After reading this article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride
and this article: www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/d/dioxins.htm
and this article: www.pvc.org/FAQ/Do-products-made-of-PVC-contain-dioxins
And this article about water (water dissolves more substances than any other liquid) ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/waterproperties.html
and applying common knowledge from secondary school science class, It becomes quite apparent that any plastic exposed to water in addition to heat will leach very nasty stuff into the water. Letting a plastic bottle of water sit in your car, in the summer when the temperature outside is above 20 degrees C and the sun is shining on the car, will most definitely provide you with lots of very dangerous chemicals to drink. Putting plastic in the microwave is also a very bad idea, as would be using pvc pipes to run hot water for the plumbing in a potable water situation. Now, that said, running cold water through pvc piping is a very different thing . . . although there could be very small amounts of polyvinyl chloride compounds in the water. According to the articles and scholarly references, dioxins are not present unless the plastic is burned. I might add that the studies point out that dioxins are present in our environment because they occur naturally.
Read about dioxins here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychlorinated_dibenzodioxins (this article has 68 references – most of them scholarly). Another point, probably the most important of all, is the pollution caused by, and the energy used in, the manufacture, recycling and/or lack of recycling of pvc pipe; and, any other types of pipe used in place of pvc.
When pvc is burned, as in this scenario: “hey we live way out in the country, we can burn our garbage instead of paying for recycling pick up”; (this happens all the time in this remote part of Washington state), horrifying amounts of dioxins are produced along with any other poisons from any toxic materials people have in their “trash”. The toxins produced by this practice are by far, worse than any small amounts of polyvinyl chlorides leached into cold water from piping. My point here is that by focusing on the minute amounts of toxins in cold water from pvc pipes, it is possible to miss the overarching situation of pollution in general. I tried to make this point with the stainless steel pipe comment. Pollutants are all around us in this day and age. Most people are not about to change their living patterns just because, from their point of view, some “greenie” tells them they are polluting.
The next time there is condensation in the morning, go out and take a white cloth and let it absorb the “fresh dew drops”. If you live anywhere near “civilization” that white cloth will have dark stains from the pollution in the condensation. You are breathing that every minute of every day; and that junk is flowing into the reservoir that supplies your water every day. The toxins from pvc pipe, although they undoubtedly do exist, are a minor problem compared to the junk we breathe. If you drive a car (hopefully a hybrid) take that white cloth and clean off the windshield in the morning when there is condensation on the windows. It will be black with soot and all kinds of nasty stuff. Yep, your’re breathing that stuff every day.
What I am saying here is that it is very important to be aware of the “big picture” of polluting, green living and the environment in general. If a person thinks that by not using pvc pipe they are assured of “pure” drinking water, they are only fooling themselves. Of all the toxins that can be in water, trace amounts of polyvinyl chlorides from pipe are only a very small part of the picture.