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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

City of South Houston

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.

 

40

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

0

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND90ND
2013ND160ND
2014N/A00N/A
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
2012-02-06AB80237ND
2012-07-06AB94679ND
2012-07-06AB94663ND
2012-07-06AB94662ND
2012-07-06AB94680ND
2012-10-12AC03206ND
2012-10-12AC03218ND
2012-10-12AC03207ND
2012-10-12AC03219ND
2013-01-14AC07573ND
2013-01-14AC07567ND
2013-01-14AC07574ND
2013-01-14AC07568ND
2013-04-02AC15463ND
2013-04-02AC15460ND
2013-04-02AC15457ND
2013-04-02AC15467ND
2013-07-19AC25322ND
2013-07-19AC25285ND
2013-07-19AC25321ND
2013-07-19AC25316ND
2013-10-24AC33202ND
2013-10-24AC33203ND
2013-10-24AC33221ND
2013-10-24AC33228ND
2015-01-21AC77101ND
2015-01-21AC77095ND
2015-01-21AC77093ND
2015-01-21AC77099ND
2015-01-21AC77109ND
2016-01-14AD18207ND
2016-01-14AD18205ND
2016-01-14AD18221ND
2016-01-14AD18219ND
2016-01-14AD18215ND
2017-01-06AD63617ND
2017-03-01AD72753ND
2017-03-01AD72765ND
2017-03-01AD72763ND
2017-03-01AD72785ND