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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

Signal Hill - City, 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.

 

43

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND20ND
2013ND20ND
2014ND20ND
2015ND20ND
2016ND20ND
2017ND330ND

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
2012-04-232706-006-0715ND
2012-10-162706-005-0930ND
2013-04-232706-006-0710ND
2013-10-222706-005-0745ND
2014-04-219588-006-1035ND
2014-10-239588-005-0940ND
2015-04-219588-006-0943ND
2015-10-229588-005-1005ND
2016-04-209588-006-1000ND
2016-10-209588-005-1110ND
2017-07-054790-021-1049ND
2017-07-054790-022-1052ND
2017-07-054790-017-1047ND
2017-08-014790-021-1320ND
2017-08-014790-017-1317ND
2017-08-014790-022-1322ND
2017-08-221805-023-1335ND
2017-08-291805-023-1042ND
2017-09-051805-023-1235ND
2017-09-051805-021-1226ND
2017-09-111805-023-1220ND
2017-09-181805-023-1250ND
2017-09-251805-023-1457ND
2017-10-021805-016-1110ND
2017-10-021805-021-1116ND
2017-10-021805-023-1123ND
2017-10-091805-023-1405ND
2017-10-161805-023-1150ND
2017-10-199588-005-1023ND
2017-10-231805-023-1400ND
2017-10-301805-023-0800ND
2017-11-061805-023-0952ND
2017-11-061805-016-0944ND
2017-11-061805-021-0939ND
2017-11-131805-023-0815ND
2017-11-201805-023-1151ND
2017-11-271805-023-0825ND
2017-12-041805-023-0830ND
2017-12-041805-021-0806ND
2017-12-041805-016-0803ND
2017-12-111805-023-0805ND
2017-12-181805-023-1310ND
2017-12-261805-023-0930ND