Water passing through PVC pipes commonly used in most buildings may contain toxic materials like lead, which has a hazardous effect on human health. This was told to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which today directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to lay down standards within four months for using lead in Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes, in consultation with Bureau of Indian Standards.
The green panel also directed the MoEF Secretary to draw up a programme for phasing out lead from PVC pipes which is used to stabilise thermal degradation. The directions came on a plea filed by NGO Jan Sahyog Manch seeking directions to take remedial and preventive steps regarding environment and ecological damage caused by the use of lead in manufacturing of PVC pipes and other products.
“Use of lead contaminates water travelling through PVC pipes is silently leaving shocking effect on the life of humans. The public at large, in the absence of any printed or visual information, is continuously consuming water travelling through PVC pipes made by using lead stabilisers and which may lead to many effects on health,” the NGO claimed.
Noting the harmful effects of lead, the NGT said “in view of the discussions, particularly on the potential adverse health effects due to presence of lead in water flowing through PVC pipes, we feel it necessary that the entire matter of usage of lead as stabiliser in PVC pipes and its desired standards needs to be examined expeditiously on scientific grounds by the MoEF, based on environmental considerations,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The NGO has also sought directions to the respondents for constituting an appropriate body to regulate and verify the manufacturing process of the plastic pipes. It called for directions for withdrawal of PVC pipes, containing lead-based heat stabiliser, out of the market and banning the use of such stabilisers.