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Water Res. 2003 Apr;37(8):1912-20.

Volatile organic components migrating from plastic pipes (HDPE, PEX and PVC) into drinking water.

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Regional Food Control Authority, Midt-Rogaland, Forusbeen 3, N-4033 Stavanger, Norway.


High-density polyethylene pipes (HDPE), crossbonded polyethylene pipes (PEX) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes for drinking water were tested with respect to migration of volatile organic components (VOC) to water. The odour of water in contact with plastic pipes was assessed according to the quantitative threshold odour number (TON) concept. A major migrating component from HDPE pipes was 2,4-di-tert-butyl-phenol (2,4-DTBP) which is a known degradation product from antioxidants such as Irgafos 168(R). In addition, a range of esters, aldehydes, ketones, aromatic hydrocarbons and terpenoids were identified as migration products from HDPE pipes. Water in contact with HDPE pipes was assessed with respect to TON, and values > or =4 were determined for five out of seven brands of HDPE pipes. The total amount of VOC released to water during three successive test periods were fairly constant for the HDPE pipes. Corresponding migration tests carried out for PEX pipes showed that VOC migrated in significant amounts into the test water, and TON >/=5 of the test water were observed in all tests. Several of the migrated VOC were not identified. Oxygenates predominated the identified VOC in the test water from PEX pipes. Migration tests of PVC pipes revealed few volatile migrants in the test samples and no significant odour of the test water.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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