- In a recent headline story, the Illinois government is
suing the tiny town of Crestwood for the use of a contaminated well. The
town water well has been found to have two chemicals - dichloroethylene
and vinyl chloride. According to the news story these are "so toxic
the EPA says there is no safe level of exposure." We will focus on
the vinyl chloride chemical here, since that topic will be lengthy enough.
- That EPA statement on vinyl chloride completely burns
out the common sense meter. First, we heard from the government how unhealthy
it is to have copper plumbing. Yet the common penny was never banned. Any
metal you handle can be absorbed into your skin. We'll talk more about
copper plumbing later.
- So what about vinyl chloride? For many years, copper
piping has been hastily removed everywhere almost like toxic waste and
replaced with plastic pipe. And what is plastic water pipe made of? PolyVinylChloride,
or PVC. This isn't just one vinyl chloride molecule but a complex vinyl
chloride molecule hence the prefix "Poly." PVC is used
in just about everything you can think of such as ice-maker tubing in refrigerators,
new home water pipes and its inside vending, soda and ice machines. It's
easy to work with, glues together quickly and never corrodes.
- Another chemical on toxic list are phthalates. This complex
chemical is used to make countless forms of plastics like sex toys and
PVC softer during manufacturing. And it too, is considered a harmful chemical.
Phthalate compounds never fully bind to PVC molecules and are given off
- Did I forget to mention here that yet another plastic
compound used in plastic food and water bottles Bisphenol A (BPA)
- is also related to the Phthalate family of plastic compounds? But in
a speech by Dr. Norris Alderson he refuted the hazards to HHS. 
- That's another entire story unto itself.
- "People are commonly exposed to phthalates, and
the majority of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention have metabolites of multiple phthalates in their urine. (Translation:
almost everyone is contaminated with multiplex complex plastic compounds.)
Because phthalate plasticizers are not chemically bound to PVC, therefore
they can easily leach and evaporate into food or the atmosphere. Phthalate
exposure can be through direct use or indirectly through leaching and general
environmental contamination." 
- There's no escape from phthalates. Even the erasers used
by children in school have phthalates and kids chew on them all the
- Where will it all end? You can't use copper pipes since
these are supposedly bad for you. You shouldn't use PVC because of the
vinyl chloride problem. So what about the noble metals? If you have nice
deep pockets, what about putting gold pipes in your home? Oops gold
is considered a toxic HEAVY metal. (Yet no one has banned it from rings
and necklaces that contact your skin.) It appears that having deep pockets
won't help much.
- So here's another solution make water pipes out
of stainless steel! But there's a problem with that one, too. Stainless
steel has a high percentage of the element chomium that keeps it from rusting.
But chomium is another heavy metal, and acidic water can slowly leach the
chromium from the steel.
- Should everyone revert back to wooden pipes? That too
can pose a problem. Trees often pick up arsenic in the soil they grow in,
both naturally occuring and from widespread use by farmers many decades
ago before it was banned. It was often used in ochards as an insecticide.
Therefore, wood from trees might have arsenic and it might leach into the
water going through pipes made of wood. Pressure treated wood now has a
bad reputation as well.
- We can't even make water pipes out of ordinary paper
if we could figure out how to make it waterproof. Paper is treated with
chemicals during processing. God save those kids in school that make spit-wads
in class! They're poisoning themselves! Someone stop them!
- There are those who argue "Lead used to solder water
pipes is bad for you." Yes, I'll admit lead is a toxic compound. But
so are the plastic compounds given off inside new cars Bisphenol-A
and phthalates coat the insides of windows new cars for months after manufacturing.
People affectionately call the chemical cocktail "That new-car smell."
Aren't carcinogens wonderful?
- A simple fact exists that most people don't ever understand
about when they gasp in horror looking at soldered pipes in older homes.
Solder they see on fittings does NOT contact the water going through the
pipe. Only a very tiny amount of the solder inside the pipe actually contacts
- With plumbing, over time minerals in tap and well water
almost always coat the inside of the pipes and also the tiny amount of
exposed solder. All new plumbing today is soldered with LEAD-FREE solder.
- So what about the copper pipes? Our bodies NEED copper!
It's an essential part of maintaining good health.
- As for me? I'm leaving my copper plumbing right where
it is when I installed it in 1982 when we built the home. It's a heck of
a lot more healthy than having endless leaching plastic compounds into
the water. At least my body can metabolize the copper!
- Ted Twietmeyer
-  - http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-090609
-  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PVC
-  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalates
-  - http://www.hhs.gov/asl/testify/2008/06/t20080610d.html
-  - http://www.copperinfo.co.uk/health/