News Analysis

Harmful Chemicals May Leach from PEX into Drinking Water

Replacing PVC with untested substitutes? New research shows how little we understand about how plumbing materials affect indoor water quality.

Public water is regulated to ensure its safety as it leaves the treatment plant, but in the U.S., all bets are off the moment that water enters our homes and buildings. Once it arrives in the building, drinking water often runs through plastic pipes that contain trace amounts of unidentified manufacturing chemicals. More and more often, these pipes are likely to be made from cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX.

Some of these chemicals may have health effects or other drawbacks that we don’t fully understand, and recent research from Purdue University and the University of South Alabama suggests that some plastic pipes have the potential to compromise our drinking water.

Published December 1, 2014