No Paradise: Water Contamination Demonstrates Importance of Safe Piping

In the aftermath of the tragic Camp Fire in Paradise, California, the region’s drinking water became highly contaminated due to plastic underground water pipes introducing harmful, cancer-causing chemicals into the water supply. The fact that high amounts of benzene (found above 500 parts per billion [ppb] in the water, grossly higher than CA’s limit of 1ppb) poisoned the water supply is nothing new, these facts have been reported across numerous media channels including Safe Piping Matters.

While benzene poisoning is dangerous, the plastic underground pipes have been found to poison the drinking water with a number of other toxic chemicals.

New reports are emerging that methylene chloride, a chemical that leaches from plastic piping, had levels as high as 28ppb – more than five times the safe limit.  Methylene chloride (otherwise known as dichloromethane) has been proven to leach from PVC and CPVC plastic pipes but showed up in the drinking water in Paradise at such high levels due to the plastic pipes melting or being otherwise damaged by the high heat of the fire. Methylene is a solvent often found in paint strippers that has been linked to cancer, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation. “Numerous” people have died from exposure to methylene chloride, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized a consumer ban on methylene chloride’s use in paint stripping. In Paradise, methylene chloride began to appear in dangerously high levels in drinking water in buildings where benzene was not found. This raises the question of the severity of water poisoning brought on due to damage of plastic pipes in the water distribution system. 

As published by undark.org, this information sheds more light on the importance of safe piping and the safety risks that piping poses. If the EPA has called for bans on methylene chloride in paint stripper, we should ask ourselves if it should have a place in our drinking water. Read more and get specific details on the new findings in Paradise’s drinking water via undark.org