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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

Status: National drinking water standard exists

 

Vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen used for production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. Discharges from plastics manufacturing can contaminate drinking water with vinyl chloride. Read More.

Exposure to vinyl chloride increases the risk of cancer and can damage the liver and nervous system. The California public health goal of 0.05 parts per billion, set to protect against cancer, is 40 times lower than the amount allowed by the federal government, which is a Maximum Contaminant Level of 2 parts per billion.

Plastic pipes made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and chlorinated PVC (CPVC) are widely used for drinking water distribution lines and internal plumbing, raising concern about vinyl chloride contamination of drinking water. A study published in 2011 by Ryan Walter of Cornell University School of Civil and Environmental Engineering suggested that small amounts of vinyl chloride can leach from PVC pipes. Vinyl chloride can also form in the pipes as a result of water disinfection with chlorine.

In an assessment completed in 2000, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment stated that drinking water is not a significant source of exposure to vinyl chloride for the general population.

Click here to read more about carcinogenic VOCs.

2015-2017:

FOUND
FOUND ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES

30

states detected

86

utilities detected

1.5 million

people served

27

states over health guideline

69

utilities over health guideline

1.1 million

people served over health guideline

Health concerns for vinyl chloride

Liver cancer

Harm to the liver

Change to the central nervous system

State and national drinking water standards and health guidelines

EWG Health Guideline 0.05 ppb

The EWG Health Guideline of 0.05 ppb for vinyl chloride was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

EPA Maximum Contaminant
Level (MCL) 2 ppb

The legal limit for vinyl chloride, established in 1987, was based on analytical detection limits at the time that the standard was set. This limit may not fully protect against the risk of cancer due to vinyl chloride exposure.

ppb = parts per billion

States reporting vinyl chloride in drinking water

UTILITIES REPORTING ABOVE HEALTH GUIDELINES UTILITIES WITH CONTAMINATION
State UtilitiesPeople Served UtilitiesPeople Served
Florida16540,37123797,209
Michigan1150,0001150,000
North Carolina782,4939113,933
Minnesota496,348496,348
New York260,925392,325
Rhode Island00242,318
Connecticut00137,267
Wisconsin214,851329,851
Colorado326,263326,263
West Virginia323,440323,440
Massachusetts122,282122,282
New Jersey170221,070
Alaska0018,375
Iowa88,27288,272
Ohio13926,439
Texas26,01226,012
Mississippi25,30925,309
Pennsylvania14,61014,610
Arkansas33,05033,050
Georgia13,04913,049
Virginia12,24512,245
Oklahoma21,94321,943
Arizona11,38511,385
Delaware16001600
Tennessee13081308
Nebraska11721172
Louisiana11601160
Washington154154
South Carolina145145
New Mexico145145
MORE
LESS

Filtering technologies that reduce vinyl chloride

carbon filter icon

Activated Carbon

reverse osmosis icon

Reverse Osmosis

Utilities with the highest amounts of vinyl chloride, 2015-2017

ALL UTILITIES
LARGE UTILITIES
UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
KalamazooKalamazoo, MI2 of 22.10 ppb150,000
Charter Oak Water SupplyCharter Oak, IA1 of 11.70 ppb502
Crestview Estates S/dBlowing Rock, NC1 of 31.23 ppb83
Outside Inn Rv ParkRoswell, NM1 of 51.18 ppb45
Redhill Water AssociationAlma, AR1 of 41.18 ppb475
Cedar Creek Mobile Home ParkEastover, SC1 of 20.855 ppb45
Saint Louis ParkSt. Louis Park, MN15 of 330.764 ppb45,505
Leflore County Rural Water District #3Whitesboro, OK2 of 90.633 ppb1,643
Rulo, Village ofRulo, NE2 of 30.593 ppb172
Wilmington Water DepartmentWilmington, MA1 of 10.500 ppb22,282
City of Stuart - Water PlantStuart, FL6 of 460.496 ppb19,000
G and R Mobile Home Park Water SystemScott, LA2 of 40.480 ppb160
Coalby Domestic Water CompanyCedaredge, CO1 of 70.457 ppb212
Portsmouth Water SupplyPanama, IA1 of 20.400 ppb195
Exira Water DepartmentExira, IA1 of 20.400 ppb840
Brayton Water SystemBrayton, IA1 of 20.400 ppb128
Regional Water*Avoca, IA1 of 20.400 ppb4,065
Avoca Water WorksAvoca, IA1 of 20.400 ppb1,506
Hoosick FallsHoosick Falls, NY2 of 90.367 ppb4,925
Garden Court MutualPort Orchard, WA1 of 30.300 ppb54
Indiantown CompanyIndiantown, FL1 of 20.250 ppb5,000
Palm Lakes Estates SouthRiviera Bch, FL6 of 440.236 ppb700
Riviera Beach Utility District*Riviera Beach, FL6 of 440.236 ppb31,500
Palm Lakes Estates NorthRiviera Beach, FL6 of 440.236 ppb480
Fairfield SapphireCashiers, NC1 of 110.200 ppb2,882
LakelandAdel, GA1 of 30.200 ppb3,049
Hcpud/calm Harbor SubdivisionLutz, FL1 of 20.195 ppb55
Hcpud/cypress Cove SubdivisionLutz, FL1 of 20.195 ppb40
Hcpud/san Remo SubdivisionLutz, FL1 of 20.195 ppb151
Hermanville Water AssociationHermanville, MS2 of 90.187 ppb1,309
City of KinstonKinston, NC2 of 360.183 ppb27,475
Freeland Borough Municipal Water AuthorityFreeland, PA1 of 210.171 ppb4,610
Walker Water AssociationMagnolia, AR2 of 90.171 ppb1,210
Marana Domestic Water Improvement District - DerringerMarana, AZ1 of 60.167 ppb1,385
Geauga Consolidated Properties LLC Public Water SystemHiram, OH1 of 50.156 ppb39
Smiths Crossing Water AssociationMagee, MS1 of 50.153 ppb4,000
The OaksPorter, TX1 of 40.150 ppb48
Grand Junction*Grand Junction, CO1 of 80.150 ppb26,000
South Shore Falls South Master Meter #1Apollo Beach, FL2 of 60.130 ppb400
South Shore Falls North Master Meter #2Apollo Beach, FL2 of 60.130 ppb320
Fern Crest Utilities Inc.Ft Lauderdale, FL1 of 30.130 ppb4,643
Fishhawk Ridge Association Inc.Lithia, FL2 of 60.130 ppb850
South-Central Service Area*Lithia, FL2 of 60.130 ppb335,297
Rison Waterworks*Rison, AR1 of 80.123 ppb1,365
Cedarburg L & W CommissionCedarburg, WI22 of 720.121 ppb11,900
Cape Windsor Community Association Inc.Selbyvile, DE1 of 60.120 ppb600
Oakland Psd Golden Key AcresWeirton, WV1 of 40.115 ppb506
Brooke County PsdWellsburg, WV1 of 40.115 ppb240
Weirton Area Water Board*Weirton, WV1 of 40.115 ppb22,694
Walnut Creek VillageGoldsboro, NC1 of 530.102 ppb854

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Vinyl chloride, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.

UtilityLocationTestsAverage levelPeople served
KalamazooKalamazoo, MI2 of 22.10 ppb150,000
Saint Louis ParkSt. Louis Park, MN15 of 330.764 ppb45,505
Wilmington Water DepartmentWilmington, MA1 of 10.500 ppb22,282
City of Stuart - Water PlantStuart, FL6 of 460.496 ppb19,000
Riviera Beach Utility District*Riviera Beach, FL6 of 440.236 ppb31,500
City of KinstonKinston, NC2 of 360.183 ppb27,475
Grand Junction*Grand Junction, CO1 of 80.150 ppb26,000
South-Central Service Area*Lithia, FL2 of 60.130 ppb335,297
Cedarburg L & W CommissionCedarburg, WI22 of 720.121 ppb11,900
Weirton Area Water Board*Weirton, WV1 of 40.115 ppb22,694
Wayne Water Districts*Goldsboro, NC1 of 530.102 ppb49,022
EdinaEdina, MN2 of 60.1000 ppb49,050
HempsteadHempstead, NY10 of 1790.0818 ppb56,000
Miramar (East & West) PlantsMiramar, FL1 of 60.0650 ppb128,729
Craven County Water System*New Bern, NC1 of 180.0444 ppb31,000
Lee County Utilities*Fort Myers, FL1 of 70.0429 ppb236,944
Wallingford Water DepartmentWallingford, CT1 of 170.0294 ppb37,267
Collingswood Water DeparCollingswood, NJ1 of 250.0258 ppb21,000
Fitchburg Utility District 1Fitchburg, WI1 of 130.0231 ppb15,000
City of Newport*Newport, RI1 of 260.00769 ppb42,000
Portsmouth Water & Fire DistrictPortsmouth, RI1 of 260.00769 ppb16,864
WA of Great Neck NorthGreat Neck, NY1 of 4480.00246 ppb31,400

* This water utility supplies finished drinking water to at least one other water utility. The purchasing utility is not required to test for or report Vinyl chloride, but it likely has the contaminant in its water supply.