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What is the least toxic pipe to use for a home water system?

We are considering changing out our copper system to something that doesn't freeze in winter and is non toxic. We were looking at PEX but toxicity is an issue.

Asked by Michelle Holman
Posted Oct 2, 2013 1:44 PM ET


3 Answers

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Neither copper water tubing nor PEX tubing has been shown to be toxic to humans. On the other hand, if ingested in sufficient doses, lead has been shown to be toxic. Lead is present is some older solders, and is a component of many types of brass used for water faucets and some PEX fittings. The levels of lead in brass fixtures has been dropping in recent years, and plumbing solder no longer contains lead.

If you are worried about lead used in older solder or brass fittings, the greatest concern is from water drawn for drinking or cooking, first thing in the morning (because the water has been sitting in the pipes overnight). If you have that concern, run your water for a few minutes for the first draw in the morning.

There is no reason to worry about toxicity from PEX or copper.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Oct 2, 2013 2:31 PM ET
Edited Oct 2, 2013 2:33 PM ET.

Answered by Malcolm Taylor
Posted Oct 2, 2013 6:56 PM ET


Pex fittings and other parts of a plumbing system may be damaged upon a freeze up. The PEX should be OK but may be damaged if freeze expanded numerous times.

Answered by aj builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a
Posted Oct 3, 2013 9:11 AM ET

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