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Old 03-27-2014, 03:54 PM   #1
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health and pex tubing


I need to replace my waterline coming into my house and am debating to save money and use pex or to spend more and use copper. I am not worried about ease of installation or freezing or joints or anything like that.

I have heard through the woodwork that PEX has been ruled safe for residential water use by NSF, the Public Health and Safety Company, a nonprofit organization, because its tests determined that while PEX does leach harmful contaminants, it does so at levels that are not only lower than EPA regulations, or 100 micrograms per liter, but also because levels declined significantly within 90 days

What do you think? Is pex as healthy as copper? What about that first 90 days I am drinking these chemicals?

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Old 03-27-2014, 04:02 PM   #2
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There is no danger using it, it's been around a long time and is far better then copper in many ways.

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Old 03-27-2014, 05:47 PM   #3
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The woodwork seems to know a lot about PEX. Exactly which harmful chemicals does the woodwork think PEX leaches? Why does the woodwork think the leaching ends after 90 days? Why does the woodwork think the leaching of copper from copper pipe is OK compared to the harmful chemicals leached by PEX? Someday I would like to meet the woodwork, maybe they have some good stock tips.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:10 PM   #4
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If your getting water from a public utility you need to use what they allow you to use. If not PEX is fine as long as you completely cover it in sand. Where you come up in concrete make sure you sleeve it. You do this to protect pex from rubbing open on rocks or other hard things. Pex expands a lot over a long distance. Also when placing it in the ditch use a S type pattern give it slack.

Last edited by Ghostmaker; 03-27-2014 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:12 PM   #5
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The woodwork seems to know a lot about PEX. Exactly which harmful chemicals does the woodwork think PEX leaches? Why does the woodwork think the leaching ends after 90 days? Why does the woodwork think the leaching of copper from copper pipe is OK compared to the harmful chemicals leached by PEX? Someday I would like to meet the woodwork, maybe they have some good stock tips.
They are all over the place. Search for pex health concerns. There are also documentaries on netflix about chemicals from plastic getting into our bodies. Here is a snipit. No one is denying that it leaches chemicals into our water. Studies are just saying that it is at an "acceptable level" Lead paint was acceptable for a long time too.

Cross-linked polyethylene tubing, known as PEX, has become a common choice for water-supply piping in buildings, holding 40% of the nationwide market, according to one manufacturer. It has not been allowed statewide in California, however, due in part to various environmental concerns.
Following the completion of an environmental impact report, the California Building Standards Commission has approved PEX for the California Plumbing Code, effective August 2009. The report focuses on the concern that the breakdown of a catalyst used in some polyethylene cross-linking processes could allow harmful substances, including MTBE, a chemical whose use as a fuel additive has raised health concerns, to leach into drinking water.
Testing by NSF International found that new PEX piping does leach MTBE, but at concentrations well below 100 micrograms per liter the chemical does not pose a health risk, according to NSF. The testing found that MTBE levels in drinking water declined significantly within 90 days, further reducing any risks. The report is available at www.bsc.ca.gov/pex.htm.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
The woodwork seems to know a lot about PEX. Exactly which harmful chemicals does the woodwork think PEX leaches? Why does the woodwork think the leaching ends after 90 days? Why does the woodwork think the leaching of copper from copper pipe is OK compared to the harmful chemicals leached by PEX? Someday I would like to meet the woodwork, maybe they have some good stock tips.
Chemical Leaching


During the Engle process of producing PEX piping, chemical byproducts are often left behind in the pipe. The most prominent are Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) and Tert-Butyl Alcohol (TBA). The amount these chemicals can leach into potable water is uncertain, but one test of AQUAPEX pipe, manufactured by Uponor Wirsbo, showed MTBE levels of 17 parts per billion (ppb) and TBA levels at 6900 ppb. (Reid 2005)

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), MTBE can be a carcinogen when high levels are inhaled. As far as as ingesting MTBE, the EPA has no definitive data on the health effects and according to the EPA's website, "there is little likelihood that MTBE in drinking water will cause adverse health effects at concentrations between 20 and 40 ppb or below." However, at these levels, MTBE can still make the water undrinkable due to the it's offensive taste and odor. (Office of Transportation and Air Quality 2009) In addition, TBA has been shown to cause cancer and hyperplasia in mice and rats during lab studies. (United States 1995)
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
The woodwork seems to know a lot about PEX. Exactly which harmful chemicals does the woodwork think PEX leaches? Why does the woodwork think the leaching ends after 90 days? Why does the woodwork think the leaching of copper from copper pipe is OK compared to the harmful chemicals leached by PEX? Someday I would like to meet the woodwork, maybe they have some good stock tips.
Cross-Linked Polyethylene Tubing and Water Contamination

During 2001, families that had just purchased newly constructed custom homes valued at about a half million dollars or more noticed that their drinking water smelled and tasted strange. The odor was reminiscent of gasoline. Chemaxx was brought in to investigate the source of the chemicals. First, it was determined that the incoming water from the city was clean. Therefore, the chemical contamination was originating from somewhere in the home itself.
In the course the investigation it was discovered that t-butanol and MTBE were showing up in the water. The levels of t-butanol spanned a broad range, but in homes where the water had been stagnant for a period of time the concentrations were as high as 10,000 ppb and greater. For comparison, the State of California has an enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) on MTBE of 13 ppb, and a non-enforceable Action Level on t-butanol of 12 ppb. Click here for a summary of the maximum concentrations found for various chemicals in the drinking water.
It was noted that t-butanol and MTBE were fingerprints for gasoline. Therefore, a number of scenarios were investigated, including ground water contamination, accidental contamination during construction or sabotage.
It turned out that the homes had been plumbed with cross-linked polyethylene tubing, commonly and generically referred to as PEX. After considerable investigation that included several dead-end scenarios, it was determined that the source of these two chemicals was the tubing itself.
One method of cross-linking polyethylene tubing is via the catalyst t-butyl peroxide. The t-butanol and MTBE are breakdown products of the t-butyl peroxide. The t-butanol was significantly more predominant than the MTBE. A methyl group is obviously picked up from the tubing somehow in order to form the MTBE.

Since the chemicals enter the water via a diffusion process, the concentrations were a function of how long the water was in contact with the tubing. Long periods of stagnation favored high levels of the chemicals while frequent and regular use of the water lines favored lower concentrations. With time, the chemicals are eventually washed out of the tubing. Research was also conducted to determine exactly how long they persist.
Chemaxx has learned about another potential problem with PEX tubing. Evidently, rodents in search of water may chew through the tubing, thereby causing leaks, which in turn can create water damage and mold. Therefore, rodent protection must be maintained to a high degree of certainty where PEX is used.
Note: There are different ways to cross-link polyethylene and not all types of cross-linked polyethylene tubing contain t-butyl peroxide. Such tubing would not be expected to contribute MTBE or t-butanol to the drinking water. Also, the data above pertained to PEX tubing manufactured during 2001 or earlier. It is Chemaxx's understanding that some producers of PEX may have altered their manufacturing processes, and what was found in 2001 may not apply today. However, if t-butanol and/or MTBE are showing up in the drinking water of newly constructed homes with PEX tubing, there is a possibility that it is coming from the PEX tubing. In fact, preliminary experiments conducted on PEX tubing purchased on November 23, 2004 produced results reminiscent of the 2001 experience.
Recommendation: If you plan to move into a new home plumbed with PEX tubing, or have recently done so, and if you are concerned about the possibility of chemicals entering the drinking water, you might want to flush all the lines daily for 1-2 minutes for the first 3-6 months and perhaps once a week for the next 6-12 months. Another helpful approach is to install a reverse osmosis water purification system for drinking water and ice makers. Both flushing and reverse osmosis are recommended.
If you are considering whether to build your home with PEX, you might ask the PEX manufacturer for a written letter that clearly states whether chemicals will be added to the drinking water and if so, which chemicals and to what degree. Note that simply passing NSF Standards does not guarantee that chemicals will not be added to your drinking water. Click hereto see letters written to NSF by Dr. Fox. NSF used to be called the National Sanitary Foundation.

Dr. Fox is a chemical expert, with extensive experience in OSHA chemical regulations and chemical safety. He also has extensive knowledge and considerable field data concerning cross-linked polyethylene tubing (PEX).
2007 CHEMAXX, INC
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:23 PM   #8
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:26 PM   #9
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Of all the things to worry about? You're worried about drinking water from PEX? Seriously? You're wasting your life away reading this garbage.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:33 PM   #10
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"Copper can leach into drinking water from the pipes in the distribution system, and the allowable levels are regulated by the EPA. The regulation of copper, however, is complicated by the fact that it is both necessary to the normal functioning of the body and toxic to the body at too high a level." http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9782
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:57 PM   #11
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Of all the things to worry about? You're worried about drinking water from PEX? Seriously? You're wasting your life away reading this garbage.

Why not just use pvc? I don;t need a crimp tool. Just put that primer and glue on there and drink up...
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:13 PM   #12
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Why not just use pvc? I don;t need a crimp tool. Just put that primer and glue on there and drink up...
Sure, if that's what your local authority allows.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:49 PM   #13
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Take a look at the insides of all the supposed safe galvanized steel pipe I cut out. Do you wanna stick your tongue on that? Let alone drink from it? In today's world anyone who is spending hours trying to dig up dirt on PEX has WAY too much time on their hands. PEX is safe, economical and reliable, use it.

Everything I have read the label on "Has been shown to cause cancer in California." Good thing I do not live in California!
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:40 PM   #14
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Take a look at the insides of all the supposed safe galvanized steel pipe I cut out. Do you wanna stick your tongue on that? Let alone drink from it? In today's world anyone who is spending hours trying to dig up dirt on PEX has WAY too much time on their hands. PEX is safe, economical and reliable, use it.

Everything I have read the label on "Has been shown to cause cancer in California." Good thing I do not live in California!
Well thats what I'm getting at. Galvanized pipe was considered safe and reliable at one time. Now, we would not plumb a doghouse with it. It took time to come to this conclusion though.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:08 PM   #15
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Of all the things to worry about? You're worried about drinking water from PEX? Seriously? You're wasting your life away reading this garbage.

Why not just use pvc? I don;t need a crimp tool. Just put that primer and glue on there and drink up...
I know of no place that allows PVC inside for domestic water piping.

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Well thats what I'm getting at. Galvanized pipe was considered safe and reliable at one time. Now, we would not plumb a doghouse with it. It took time to come to this conclusion though.
Same is said for copper systems. Only within the last year has lead been all but deleted from copper systems.

IMO- pex is the safest pipe there is. Of course, I wish it was never invented because it really dummies down my trade but, oh well....

If you have such concerns then buy bottled water- what scares me the most is our municipal treatment plants. No pipe will protect you from them.

Every year in I hear of a community that has issued a boil warning. I don't hear pex chemical warnings that often. In fact it's been years until you brought it up.

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