PVC Toxicity Leaching around Irrigation and Proximity of PVC near Edibles

Hi folks.

I have a question about using PVC pipe near the veggie garden and fruit trees to deliver water from the source at my house which is ~125 feet from my Garden. I have researched PVC toxicity \ leaching to death and I’m more frustrated than educated. I can not seem to find a straight answer to how and or where it is safe to use PVC for irrigation supply. That said, if anyone can offer some guidance and clarity around the questions below I’d be very grateful.

  1. Can I safely use PVC to deliver water to the corner of my garden where it would connect to a standard hose bib and then the start of my irrigation setup?
  2. If yes to safely using to feed from the house, how close is too close to edibles, whether my vegetable beds or my fruit trees(roots?) for the pipe to be before there is even a minute risk of leaching into something that anyone will eat? The pipe running to the corner of the garden would be ~3 feet from the first bed and then about 7-8 feet from the first fruit tree.
  3. I will have 4 zones being fed with ½” Poly pipe from there so the main distribution pipe will be ¾” PVC to allow for more flow from the main in case I need to feed all four zones at once. Does anyone see any reason that a ½” pipe from the garden connector would be an issue feeding 10 trees over 100’ run, each tree getting ~2gph from an emitter hose? I believe it should be fine based on my reading but wasn’t sure if another PVC run would be needed which again I’m unclear how far away the PVC pipe should be from the soil \ roots of anything edible to avoid any health risks.
  4. Lastly, i was going to build hoop houses to harden off the plants come spring for the beds and also to extend the season. Can I use PVC pipe attached to the side of the beds or resting on pipe clamps (easier to explain with a picture) for this? What about using PVC to frame out housing for my fruit tree nets ans shade cloths? I found that those items do better with a more rigid structure rather than laying on the branches.

Sorry for the long winded question.


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I’ve always been on the paranoid side regarding what plastics give up, especially with heat, but I’m not at all sure where PVC fits in the equation. I would imagine (big hedge there) that cold water running through the pipes would help, but that first few minutes could be quite hot. I’m comfortable with drinking water that runs through PVC, but that’s cold. I suspect that dilution would solve the problem, i.e., all that water running through the pipes dilutes any contaminants pretty quickly.

In short, probably a nonissue, but mebbe not the first few minutes worth of water.


To my knowledge, terrestrial plants do not uptake emissions from PVC pipe.


Thanks folks. Hard to know what is legitimate reports or not. It’s like how the media presents news… They all have their agendas.

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Why not use CPVC? Approved for use with hot water. I have been drinking out of CPVC pipes for 54 years. PVC is not approved for drinking water. You can’t use hot water because the plastic is rigid and will crack. The only reason I know of for not using hot water with PVC.


PVC is approved for drinking water. Many of us use PVC for staking, framing, etc. in the garden. I’m not very worried about PVC, I figure there are tons of things worse for me, including breathing atmospheric air…

PVC is approved for drinking water by the way, but not hot water, which is where CPVC comes in.


Thanks for the info. I was always told not to use it. Probably because of the hot water thing. Not that it is unsafe. We use plastics for all sorts of drinks.

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I am not sure if PVC is worse than the drip lines or hoses they are selling. I have PVC as the frames and trellis. I never feel sick eating anything from my back yard, and to a sensitive person like me it means they are not that bad.


So. Any Google search will return lots of articles, these are the ones that caught my eyes and caused me to hesitate…

Again, thank you all for your input.

Negative Info:


Not Negative Info:


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The Internet has articles saying anything you can imagine. I would look for scholarly articles from a university or peer reviewed source or pieces from regulatory (FDA/EPA/etc.) or consumer advocacy (Consumer Reports, etc.) agencies for reliable information.

I can tell you that PVC pipes are absolutely allowed in organic production. If you want to use something else, go for it. For piping you can use copper or stainless. Galvanized is considered very safe, but if you’re worried about PVC you might not feel comfortable with zinc plating either. For support/structure, just use wood. Bamboo is cheap and easy, can get dimensional lumber too.