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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Jun;22(11):8405-11. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3999-9. Epub 2014 Dec 25.

Leaching of lead from new unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) pipes into drinking water.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117576, Singapore.


Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) pipes have been used in the premise plumbing system due to their high strength, long-term durability, and low cost. uPVC pipes, however, may contain lead due to the use of lead compounds as the stabilizer during the manufacturing process. The release of lead from three locally purchased uPVC pipes was investigated in this study. The effects of various water quality parameters including pH value, temperature, and type of disinfectant on the rate of lead release were examined. The elemental mapping obtained using scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) confirmed the presence of lead on the inner surfaces of the uPVC pipes and their surface lead weight percentages were determined. The leachable lead concentration for each pipe was determined using high strength acidic EDTA solutions (pH 4, EDTA = 100 mg/L). Lead leaching experiments using tap water and reconstituted tape water under static conditions showed that the rate of lead release increased with the decreasing pH value and increasing temperature. In the presence of monochloramine, lead release was faster than that in the presence of free chlorine.

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