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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

Sierra Madre Water Department

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.

 

31

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND50ND
2013ND60ND
2014ND50ND
2015ND50ND
2016ND50ND
2017ND50ND

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
2012-05-079588-007-0915ND
2012-05-079588-006-0935ND
2012-05-079588-005-0840ND
2012-05-079588-004-0855ND
2012-05-079588-003-0830ND
2013-05-219588-007-1000ND
2013-05-219588-006-0940ND
2013-05-219588-005-0910ND
2013-05-219588-004-0925ND
2013-06-263761-003-0800ND
2013-06-279588-003-0805ND
2014-05-129588-007-1125ND
2014-05-129588-006-1055ND
2014-05-129588-005-1105ND
2014-05-129588-004-1045ND
2014-05-129588-003-1030ND
2015-05-139588-007-0840ND
2015-05-139588-006-1020ND
2015-05-139588-005-0940ND
2015-05-139588-004-1000ND
2015-05-139588-003-1115ND
2016-05-039588-007-0920ND
2016-05-039588-006-0900ND
2016-05-039588-005-0830ND
2016-05-039588-004-0845ND
2016-05-039588-003-0815ND
2017-05-039588-007-1010ND
2017-05-039588-006-0940ND
2017-05-039588-005-0930ND
2017-05-039588-004-1045ND
2017-05-039588-003-1030ND