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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

Aqua Pa Uwchlan

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.

 

36

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

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

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
2012-02-06AD37757ND
2012-02-06AD37758ND
2012-02-23AD39504ND
2012-02-23AD39503ND
2012-02-29AD39501ND
2012-05-25AD49447ND
2013-02-05AD79498ND
2013-02-05AD79499ND
2013-02-20AD80828ND
2013-02-20AD80829ND
2013-03-05AD82342ND
2013-05-21AD90752ND
2014-02-06AE22430ND
2014-02-14AE22385ND
2014-02-14AE22387ND
2014-02-21AE23946ND
2014-02-21AE23943ND
2014-04-23AE29861ND
2015-02-0312395455ND
2015-02-0312395539ND
2015-02-0312395497ND
2015-02-0312395518ND
2015-02-0412395434ND
2015-02-0412395476ND
2016-01-2213746216ND
2016-01-2213746237ND
2016-01-2213746258ND
2016-01-2213746279ND
2016-02-1013864183ND
2016-02-1013864204ND
2017-03-2815787956ND
2017-03-2815787977ND
2017-04-1915928763ND
2017-04-1915928784ND
2017-04-2115928742ND
2017-06-2116249807ND