plastic or copper plumbing?

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I get this for agreeing with you? Sheesh.

You may be taking my comments a little more overbroadly.
Yes, of course copper in high enough concentrations is toxic to just about everything.
My comment that may have _seemed_ to the contrary was merely to point out that copper toxicity varies widely through the plant and animal kingdom. Copper dosages that would kill some lifeforms won't touch others.
For example, copper is the active ingredient in many algaecides used in aquariums. Kills the algae, doesn't hurt the fish. Copper is _much_ more toxic to plants and invertibrates (ie: slugs and snails) than vertibrates (ie: fish, and us).
Hence the comment that copper is a toxic substrate for most bacteria. Ie: copper is _less_ likely to support (most types of) bacteria than plastic is in the same conditions.
Further, copper is also an "essential mineral". There are, for example, vitamin supplements for people that contain copper. Unlike lead, which is not.
Of course there are limits as to how much copper is permissible in potable water. There are limits to _everything_ in potable water, toxic or not.
I pride myself in keeping up to date in these sorts of issues. Lead solder, for example, has been a very big issue for a lot of years. The PB plumbing class action lawsuit, Al wiring, asbestos, UFFI, CCA etc.
But I don't remember hearing/seeing anything about copper contamination being a particularly significant concern in routine every day household plumbing.
Hence I ask you (for about the third time), do you have references for this being a significant issue for ordinary household plumbing?
_Not_ what the limits are. I've found those (including Canada's).
But where someone says that the copper pipe in your house alone (as opposed to the rest of the water system getting water to your house) is a significant concern. With some real facts to back them up.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

Since you're a guy who keeps abreast of such things, I remember a few decades ago when PVC pipe started getting knocked because homeowners started replacing their copper pipes with it because it was so damn cheap, so they started using it for their faucet feeds, too. News at the time was this was bad for drinking water lines (but OK for waste lines) because PVC-borne chemicals leaching into the water over time. Not enough to cause someone to drop dead on the spot or anything, but perhaps significant over many years -- just like this argument thread related to copper pipe. Is there anything in your current science that suggests a similar concern for plastic pipe used now? I would imagine the plastics industry has come a ways since the 1970s and '80s and maybe addressed this, but what say you since you seem to follow it more closely than the average homeowner guy who doesn't worry about such things until some household disaster probably forces him to worry about it?
AJS
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I believe most of the issue with PVC pipe back then was that (a) most of it isn't rated for full plumbing pressures often seen, and (b) (still now) certainly _not_ for hot water under any pressure. So, not so much toxicity, , but I assume it's still approvedbut simple pipe bursts.
However,
Vinyl chloride (primary "input" to PVC manufacturing) is _very_ _very_ nastily toxic. And carcinogenic. etc. Big uproar over VC toxicity in manufacturing facilities, spills etc.
It's true that materials not intended for potable water usage do not have the same manufacturing/standards controls as materials intended for potable water.
Ie: a material not intended for potable water won't be as stringently controlled, and due to manufacturing differences may leach things you wouldn't dream of accepting in potable water.
Ie: some PVC may not be completely "P'd" (polymerized, as in assembled into inert/non-toxic long chain molecules). Ie: it may leach small quantities of VC.
You'd be crazy to use low-end cheapie PVC tubing for potable water, entirely aside from the point that it's really not pressure-rated even for cold water. Here, building code requires "CSA approved PVC tubing" (ie: for well pump lines), which is several notches above the regular irrigation tubing and is quite a bit more expensive.
PVC is not allowed in "regular" residential plumbing, period.
Also, as I understand it, PB pipe is sensitive to trace quantities of chlorine (and/or chlorides), and the pipe can suffer damage (including fail) from it. [This is in addition to some issues about defective installation/materials in the crimping rings].
Which is part of the class-action lawsuit against (I think it's) Shell.
Several plastic pipes have come up over the years: ABS, PVC, CPVC, PB, PE, PEX and I'm probably missing some.
Most municipalities are quite anal about exactly which one you're permitted to use for what. IIRC, our codes permit CPVC for cold water only, PEX is good for both cold and hot. PB is hard to find now, but I assume it's still approved.

Given the various scandals about PVC and PB, the industry (and standards and municipalities and building codes) have learned quite a bit, and if anything, are very anal about what they permit now.
As such, I'd be pretty trusting of modern PEX from a reputable supplier, as long as whomever is installing it doesn't cut corners and uses the proper tools.
I'm not too worried about chemical leachate from PEX, because polyethylene is one of the most innocuous of all plastics.
I should also point out that many plastics are susceptable to UV damage, so "in-sun" applications are a bad idea. Don't know about PEX specifically.
--
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