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A coalition of environmental organizations warned in a report Wednesday of potential health risks in replacing lead pipes with polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
PVC, a low-cost plastic, is commonly used as an alternative material for older metal pipes, which is particularly relevant as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden includes a provision to replace the U.S.’ lead service lines.
In the report, the authors note that plastic pipes can leach more contaminants into the water than unlined metal ones. The replacement process, they write, could potentially result in a so-called regrettable substitution, the term for a solution equal or worse to the problem.