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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

Forrest City Waterworks

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.

 

55

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND90ND
2013ND90ND
2014ND90ND
2015ND80ND
2016ND90ND
2017ND110ND

ppb = parts per billion

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

All test results

Date Lab ID Result
2012-01-2512026006001ND
2012-01-2512026006101ND
2012-06-1312166002901ND
2012-06-1312166003101ND
2012-06-1312166003001ND
2012-08-2712242003701ND
2012-08-2712242003801ND
2012-10-0212278014001ND
2012-10-0212278013901ND
2013-02-1213044000901ND
2013-02-1213044000801ND
2013-04-0113094007101ND
2013-04-0113094007201ND
2013-04-0113094007301ND
2013-08-2713241000309ND
2013-08-2713241000209ND
2013-11-0513310000809ND
2013-11-0513310000909ND
2014-02-0514038000701ND
2014-02-0514038000602ND
2014-04-2314114013809ND
2014-04-2314114014301ND
2014-04-2314114014002ND
2014-08-2714240001201ND
2014-08-2714240000702ND
2014-11-2414330003801ND
2014-11-2414330003701ND
2015-01-1215015008601ND
2015-01-1215015008501ND
2015-04-0815099007301ND
2015-04-0815099007201ND
2015-08-2415238000701ND
2015-08-2415238000602ND
2015-12-0115337004901ND
2015-12-0115337004801ND
2016-02-1616049005401ND
2016-02-1616049005301ND
2016-04-2016112007601ND
2016-04-2016112007501ND
2016-07-0616189013609ND
2016-07-0616189013509ND
2016-08-2416237004701ND
2016-10-0316279003208ND
2016-10-0316279003108ND
2017-01-1617019008401ND
2017-01-1617019008501ND
2017-04-0317096000101ND
2017-04-0317096000209ND
2017-04-0317096004801ND
2017-07-0317187007001ND
2017-07-0317187007101ND
2017-07-0317187007202ND
2017-10-0317278005801ND
2017-10-0317278005701ND
2017-10-0317278005602ND