Healthy Building Science recently stirred up a hornet's nest when it published an article last week which claimed that plastic pipes were much less healthy than copper pipes. A link to the article ran in last Tuesday's Pulse newsletter, and was also run by sister publication Remodeling in a subsequent newsletter.

The original article made this claim: 

Though testing is still in its nascent stages, studies have concluded that High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Cross Linked Polyethylene (PEX), and Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes (PVC), release both regulated and unregulated VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the water. Some of these VOCs are carcinogenic as well as endocrine disrupting and neurotoxic.

The article went on to assert that copper piping was a safer, healthier alternative to plastic. And this brought a bevy of contentious comments on Remodeling's site, challenging the voracity of Healthy Building Science's claims, including:

  • "As a master plumber in Wisconsin I see many disadvantages of copper water lines and many advantages of PEX water lines. For all practical purposes, copper is obsolete in our business ..."
  • I don't see copper piping as being all that healthy. And adding fluoride to protect the copper simply adds another "pollutant" to the water we want to keep pure. Alarmist articles like this that raise more questions, answer nothing, and are based on a lot of speculation serve no good to the public. 
  • For an article published by "Healthy Building Science" there sure is a dearth of actual science here ...

Solid points, all. Healthy Building Science in fact took the story down, but yesterday posted in its place a revised, more well-balanced version, which included numerous citations. Below is a list of the new citations for those interested in pursuing the issue.

You can head on over to read the new and improved article at Healthy Building Science by clicking the "Read More" button below, or explore the sources it used in resuscitating the article:

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