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EWG's Tap Water Database — 2019 UPDATE

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Vinyl chloride

Marshall 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.

 

45

Samples

0

Samples exceeding legal limit (MCL)

1

Samples exceeding
health guidelines

Testing results - average by year

 
YearAverage resultSamples takenDetectionsRange of results
2012ND30ND
2013ND130ND
2014ND90ND
2015ND10ND
20160.122 ppb91ND - 1.10 ppb
2017ND100ND

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
2012-07-31E120503023ND
2012-07-31E120503025ND
2012-11-27E121000008ND
2013-01-23E121105304ND
2013-01-23E121105301ND
2013-04-30E130202338ND
2013-04-30E130202336ND
2013-07-16E130505808ND
2013-07-16E130505805ND
2013-08-12E130800798ND
2013-08-12E130800799ND
2013-08-30E130804729ND
2013-08-30E130804741ND
2013-08-30E130804753ND
2013-10-07E130803845ND
2013-10-07E130803840ND
2014-01-14E131200005ND
2014-02-10E141204239ND
2014-04-07E140304239ND
2014-07-08E140601326ND
2014-07-08E140601332ND
2014-07-08E140601325ND
2014-08-0438295ND
2014-10-28E140802403ND
2014-10-28E140802398ND
2015-07-14VA010-DCLSND
2016-02-10E1512042761.10 ppb
2016-02-10E151204275ND
2016-05-11E160303032ND
2016-05-11E160303031ND
2016-07-19E160703075ND
2016-07-19E160703077ND
2016-07-19E160703076ND
2016-12-01E160901673ND
2016-12-01E160901674ND
2017-02-28E161201879ND
2017-02-28E161201878ND
2017-06-20E170302822ND
2017-06-20E170302823ND
2017-08-29E170600341ND
2017-08-30E170600340ND
2017-08-30E170600333ND
2017-08-30E170600336ND
2017-12-06E170805508ND
2017-12-06E170805503ND