Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Anything goes here in India! If you give a concoction of toxins and tell people here it is a medicine for their good health, they will readily consume it without asking any questions. And suffer the consequences. Why don't people question what the 'medicine' contained before consuming it? Why don't they study the consequences of the consumption of contents of the so called medicine before using it?

These are life and death situations many times. I will tell you why. Have you heard about illicit liquor that kills several people who consume it in this part of the world? It contains deadly  methanol! 

Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a commonly used organic solvent that, because of its toxicity, can cause metabolic acidosis, neurologic sequelae, and even death, when ingested. It is a constituent of many commercially available industrial solvents and of poorly adulterated alcoholic beverages. Methanol toxicity remains a common problem in many parts of the developing world, especially among members of lower socioeconomic classes. But people consume it without asking questions, because the adulterated liquor is cheap. And they would be 'assured just with sweet words' it doesn't harm their health if they drink it.

Recently one such 'simply accept what was suggested to you without asking questions' , not related to methanol though, incident has happened in our apartment complex. 

The old iron pipes used for water supply had been rusted, degraded and were leaking. So the association members have decided to change them. They invited two plumbers to do the job. The plumbers have suggested using CPVC pipes as they don't rust.  The 'literate' members readily accepted the suggestion of the illiterate plumbers without asking any questions and the CPVC pipes were installed for drinking water supply in our premises. What 's worse was, they were joined by using  highly toxic synthetic adhesives. All this had happened in my absence. 

I opposed this vehemently and complained after coming to know about it. I gave reasons for my opposition to the CPVC pipes  to the association members. 

But they took it lightly and said as they had been already installed, they couldn't do much about it. And as several people were using them in India, they said they too could use them. And they have argued that rust from the old iron water pipes is dangerous too which made me write this article: can-rust-from-old-drinking-water-pipes-cause-health-problems

My environmental engineer friends too confirmed this: Iron pipes are much better for water transport and supply any day than PVC pipes.

What was more shocking was the plumbers were trying to assure me that cPVC pipes were perfectly safe to use for drinking water distribution! 

I had to work very hard to convince them and get the CPVC pipes removed and I have my reasons to do that.

And why PVC and CPVC pipes should not be used for drinking water supply? Because of the toxic chemicals  these pipes are made of.

PVC and CPVC are similar in many ways. Both are made of the same basic elements with just one distinguishing factor to withstand higher temperatures (up to 200 degree F) and higher pressures - CPVC is altered by a free radical chlorination reaction that effectively increases the chlorine content of the material. 

Leaching studies conducted in the US found that CPVC plumbing pipes leached potentially toxic chemicals such as chloroform, tetrahydrofuran, methyl ethyl ketone , acetate into drinking water. These chemicals may cause cancer in Human beings. They also cause ozone pollution. Phthalates effect the liver. 

Leaching increases with the increase of  temperatures during the day time when the Sun's rays fall on the pipes, if they are exposed to Sun's rays.

Toxins in PVC pipes and adhesives:

PVC's contain heavy chlorine content and dioxines. At least one dioxin is classified as carcinogen. They are endocrine disruptors and interfere with the production or activity of hormones in the human endocrine system. They also contain lead that can permanently damage the brain.

Lead is used in 95 percent of PVC pipe in India, 86 percent in the Middle East and Africa, and 61 percent in South America, according to figures from German stabilizer maker Baerlocher GmbH . It is a widespread problem across the world.

In Europe, by contrast, 29 percent of all PVC pipe systems use lead, while in North America, the figure is less than 1 percent, because nearly 100 percent of vinyl pipe systems use tin as a stabilizers.

It’s a toxic shell game the chemical industry has been playing, and just another example of how vinyl is a fundamentally poison plastic.

People say PVC pipes are cost effective but they can cause several health problems which make you spend lots of money in the long run so they  are not actually cost-effective in reality!

PVC pipes  for drinking purposes have been banned in several countries. 

Synthetic adhesives (used to join the PVC and  CPVC pipes) like epoxies, polyurethanes, cyanocrylates and acrylic polymers - all of them are deadly toxins. Most of them are carcinogenic ( they contain solvents such as benzene, toluene, xylene, styrene, acetone, methanol, phenol and dichloromethane). They destroy red blood cells and  inhibit immune system  apart from causing cancer.

Need I say more?

A warning: As expected, the PVC pipe makers deny all the information coming out from the genuine research institutes and tell the world it is perfectly safe to use these PVC and CPVC pipes. The information they provide is not reliable.  And we request the readers not to believe their  pseudo-and biased research.

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Replies to This Discussion


A person sent me this message after reading this article: Exactly! Consumer affairs uses Ecocenter lab tests on PVC & polyurethane, which clearly shows PVC leaches significant amounts of Antimony, Arsenic, Bromine, Cadmium, Chlorine, Lead, & Phthalates.

Very useful information ma'am. In our home we used CPVC pipes for drinking water lines. Didn't realize we have been drinking unsafe water all these years. I must tell this to my dad now. 





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