Copper Industry Group Acknowledges Corrections to California Environmental Impact Report

January 15, 1999


NEW YORK - The final "Final Environmental Impact Report on the Use of CPVC Plastic Pipe in Residential Plumbing Systems," issued December 1, 1998, by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, represents a substantial improvement in its discussion of copper environmental issues versus the an earlier draft, according to Robert M. Payne, president of the Copper Development Association.

Payne said the copper industry is "generally pleased that HCD, in its final version of the EIR, chose to include factual data and recommendations that clearly dispel most of the misinformation and false implications about copper that were contained in the draft."

"We are particularly pleased to note," Payne said, "that HCD retracted its earlier position and now acknowledges there is no clear basis upon which to recommend an emergency statewide adoption of regulations allowing CPVC as an alternative potable water piping material. The final EIR also abandons the original presentation of CPVC as the "environmentally preferable alternative."

The draft EIR had further claimed that CPVC was certified by the National Sanitation Foundation while copper was not. The final EIR verifies that copper is, indeed, certified by NSF. It also concludes that "copper is generally a safe and durable material highly suited for potable water use."

In response to release of the draft document on June 30, Payne had pledged CDA's assistance to helpthe HCD in correcting its seriously flawed first cut, which presented a severe indictment of the environmental effects of the largely copper residential plumbing systems in the state. Payne said, " That picture of copper's impact on the aquatic environment and human health, and the agency's description of copper as a scarce, energy intensive natural resource was inaccurate, biased, and, in fact, represented research into but a small part of the overall literature and understanding of these issues.

Since the copper industry had not been asked early on to participate in the draft EIR process, as was the case for the B.F. Goodrich Company, the HCD agreed to consider the industry's technical research and data. CDA provided detailed, substantive information on copper issues only. The association offered no comment on CPVC plastic tube material.

Based on this information supplied by the copper industry, HCD changed many of the erroneous conclusions contained in its draft. The final EIR also includes creditable material submitted by CDA into the body of the report adds the complete text of extended analyseis of four key copper issues as appendices.

Copper has been the plumbing material of choice in the United States for more than 70 years, and it maintains the dominant market share nationwide. The Copper Development Association is the information, education, and technical development arm of the copper, brass and bronze industry in the United States.