Report No DWI0770

FEASIBILITY OF A UK POSITIVE LIST FOR POLYETHYLENE PIPES IN CONTACT WITH DRINKING WATER SUPPLIES

Draft Final Report to the Department of the Environment

DWI0770

Jun 1996

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The feasibility of adopting a 'Positive List' approval system for polyethylene (PE) pipes in contact with public drinking water supplies has been investigated.

The current Dutch and UK approval arrangements for PE products for use in contact with drinking water were assessed. The main issues which would need to be considered in relation to the use of the Dutch PE positive list in the UK were identified.

The issues concern an acceptance of the toxicological basis on which the positive list would be established, other measures of protection of consumers' health (including the determination of 'overall' migration, general survey GCMS analysis, quality control and audits), the incorporation of the Dutch positive list into UK documentation, and the identification of bodies who would assess and approve products under the system.

The views of the manufacturers of PE pipes were sought, and a meeting was held to discuss the issues with the British Plastics Federation (BPF). Concerns were raised by BPF about the possible unfairness of introducing a faster approval system for PE products than would be available for other products.

The potential advantages (a simple and transparent system for processing applications) of a system based on positive lists for approving PE pipes, and possibly other products, must be weighed against the disadvantages (the complexities and costs of initially establishing and implementing such a system). On balance, no strong case for change was identified, although the considered views of manufacturers are awaited.

Copies of this report may be available as an Acrobat pdf download under the 'Pre 2000 Reports' heading on the DWI website.