Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pioneering tests on odors from plastic water pipe

24.08.2007
“Fruity plastic” may seem like a connoisseur’s description of the bouquet of a bottle of Chardonnay or Merlot gone bad. However, that was among several uncomplimentary terms that a panel of water “sensory experts” used to describe the odor of drinking water from the plastic piping that is finding its way into an increasing number of homes these days.

The sampling was part of pioneering research on how plumbing materials affect the odor and taste of drinking water, which was reported here today at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Andrea Dietrich, Ph.D., who reported to the ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, pointed out that a rash of costly pinhole leaks in recent years in commonly used copper water pipes has led to renewed interest in lower priced plastic pipes. Dietrich and colleagues at Virginia Tech are among those scientists leading the way in evaluating how plastic might affect water quality and odor.

“Although water is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic chemicals, most people expect their drinking water to have little or no flavor,” Dietrich noted. With those expectations, any taste or odor in a glass of water can be “highly noticeable.”

Dietrich’s team is using two methods to evaluate odors associated with several types of plastic piping. First, sensory panelists smell and describe the odor of the water after it has sat in the pipes for several days. Then, the water undergoes chemical analyses for metals and organics and basic water quality parameters, such as pH.

Using specially prepared, neutral-smelling water as their control, panelists described the test water samples in terms that included “waxy plastic citrus,” “fruity plastic” and “burning plastic.” Fortunately, the odors are not long lasting, Dietrich said. “We find that after about two months, most of the odors and water quality effects have gone to background.” How quickly the odors disappear depends on the amount of water usage, she added. When a household uses more water, the odors fade faster.

Dietrich told the ACS that her group evaluated several types of plastic piping: cPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), HDPE (high-density polyethylene), and PEX-aA and PEX-b, which are crosslinked polyethylenes. Each is approved and certified for use in drinking water applications by NSF International, an independent certification, standards and testing organization, and ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

“We found that cPVC has a low odor potential and it doesn’t seem to release many organic chemicals,” Dietrich said. “HPDE actually had the highest odor production, although it didn’t release very many organic materials. The PEX-b pipe had a moderate amount of odors and also a moderate amount of organic chemicals that were released into the air. PEX-a had fewer odors and organics release than the PEX-b pipe.”

Asked about her personal preference in plastic piping, Dietrich replied: “I would recommend people talk to their neighbors and find out what type of plumbing materials they have and if they are having problems. We do suspect that certain materials are going to be more compatible in certain areas,” due to the differences in water quality from one part of the country to another.

For now, Dietrich’s group is focused mainly on the odors imparted by plastic pipes and the analysis of any organic compounds that may leach into the water from the pipes. Asked if there may be any health effects from the leached compounds, Dietrich said that is still under investigation and she doesn’t have any answers at this point.

Charmayne Marsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acspresscenter.org
http://chemistry.org/bostonnews/images.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>