Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 8405–8411 | Cite as

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

  • Yuanyuan Zhang
  • Yi-Pin LinEmail author
Research Article


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.


uPVC pipe Lead Distribution system 



The authors would like to thank financial support from National University of Singapore (R-302-000-049-112) and National Taiwan University (NTU-CDP-103R7877).

Supplementary material

11356_2014_3999_MOESM1_ESM.docx (622 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 622 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of Environmental EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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