Is PVC Pipe Food Safe? All The Answers Here!

Last Updated on October 20, 2022 by

If you worked with aquaponics or water before, you probably have heard of PVC pipes. But, is PVC pipe food safe? Read this article to learn everything you need to know!

Pipes are an important piece of hardware for your aquaponics system. It is the thing that moves water back and forth into your system. Most often, people use PVC pipes to do this. 

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is the chemical component the pipes are made from. Whenever working with man-made products, we need to understand how it is made and whether or not it is safe for certain uses.

Many people often wonder the question: is PVC pipe food safe? Food safe means that it can be used in situations where the product will be consumed. People want to know if the pipe will leak chemicals into your food, making it unsafe to eat.

Well, don’t look any further. We have done the research to answer all your questions so you can move forward using PVC pipes with confidence. Keep reading to find out more now!

PVC For Aquaponics

Before getting into the details of our answer, let’s begin by understanding how PVC is used in aquaponics or hydroponics.

PVC pipes are very long-lasting and durable pipes. It is for this reason that people usually use it as their main pipes to move water from their aquaponics tank into their grow beds. However, there is another common use of PVC in aquaponics.

Many people use pipes to grow their plants! In these cases, the system is using more of a hydroponics method. This means that the plants do not have a soil-growing medium. Instead, the plant roots grow directly into the water.

The PVC pipe holds the water and supports the plants so that they can remain upright. Holes are cut out of the top of the PVC pipe. It is a very convenient material to use in hydroponics because it can hold water, and is flexible and strong. 

However, PVC is very difficult to recycle. So, we suggest that if you are going to build this type of project, it is best to re-purpose already-used PVC pipes rather than buy new ones.  

Of course, in these designs, the PVC pipe will directly come in contact with the plants to grow. This leads us to the important question: Is Pvc pipe food safe? Meaning, are plants grown in PVC safe for us to eat? 

pvc for aquaponics

Read more information about The Amazing Ways How To Grow Rice Hydroponically

Food-Grade PVC Pipe

There are many different types of PVC pipes, and not all of them are safe to use in situations where will come in contact with food and beverage. If you are very concerned about health, make sure to pay attention to the specific kind of PVC pipe you work with.

The best pipes for food-safe projects are called uPVC or rigid PVC pipes. All others could be seen as a slight risk to your health.  

Usually, when you use PVC pipes, you need to connect them with PVC pipe glue. This is a special glue designed specifically for use with PVC. One thing to keep in mind is that this glue can leach into your pipe system if you use it too much.

So, the best way to ensure that you have a food-safe system is to not over glue your pipes. The glue has chemicals that are not good for human consumption.  

For the most part, however, it is perfectly fine to use PVC pipes for aquaponics, hydroponics, and all other garden-related activities.  

Another thing to pay attention to is the location of your pipes. When PVC pipes are left out in the sun for too long, they will start to break down. If your pipes start to break, microplastics will likely wash into your system. This is dangerous because fish and other animals can ingest them.

Be sure to either keep your pipes out of the direct sun or paint your PVC pipes to protect them from UV rays. 

The most important thing to pay attention to is which type of PVC you are using. As long as you stick to the rigid PVC pipes, it is safe to use in aquaponics. There are at least 10 different kinds of PVC pipes.

In Conclusion – Is PVC BPA-free?

As long as you stick to uPVC, it is 100% BPA-free. These pipes do not use any plasticizer. However, regular PVC does use plasticizers and thus can contain BPA.

BPA stands for Bisphenol A and is an industrial chemical that can be dangerous for humans when ingested. This is why many people are concerned with it being in their plastic products. BPA is a chemical added to plastic to make it harder.  

There have been many studies that show BPA leaches into food products. According to the University of Missouri, “exposure to BPA during human development could be damaging to behavioral and cognitive traits that are unique to each sex and important in reproduction.”  This is why it is banned from many products today.  

Unfortunately, BPA is not only dangerous to humans but also to animals. So overall, if you are using PVC pipes in aquaponics, be sure that it is uPVC and BPA-free.

As long as you stick to that type of PVC, you shouldn’t have any problems. After reading this article hopefully, you understand the answer to the question: Is PVC pipe food safe? 

The short answer is some PVC pipes are not food-safe and others are. Also, a reminder to not use too much pipe glue when you make your connections. In rare cases, if you use too much glue, it can leach into your water supply.  

Always be careful when working with man-made products and chemicals. Even though they are useful tools, they can often be harmful to our health if not used properly. In aquaponics, you are growing food and fish to eat.  

This is why we need to take special care with our PVC pipe selections. Feel free to comment and ask questions below!

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