The Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association has appealed a ruling by a lower court that threatens to halt the use of cross-linked polyethylene pipe in plumbing in California.
The appeal, filed Dec. 31, means that PEX piping, which has been approved for use by the California Building Standards Commission, can continue to be used, pending the appellate court ruling.
CBSC in January 2009 approved the use of PEX piping, effective August 2009.
But that ruling was challenged by the California Pipe Trades Council and several environmental groups, and the Alameda Superior Court ruled last month that CBSC had failed to consider whether chemicals in the pipe could leach into water. The court ordered the commission to conduct a new environmental impact review.
The court's ruling is disturbing in many respects, said Richard Church, executive director of the PPFA in Glen Ellyn, Ill. It fails to recognize substantial and key evidence in [the state's environmental impact review] and administrative record supporting the CBSC determination that PEX does not pose a significant risk to human health. In many instances, the court inappropriately substituted its judgment for that of the CBSC and, consequently, failed to accord the proper deference to the agency's expertise in highly technical areas, Church said in a statement.
The state environmental impact review 868 pages with almost 10,000 more pages of additional information was certified by CBSC on Jan. 22.
Even prior to the approval of the use of PEX in California homes, PEX pipe was used in more than 300 communities in California in new-home construction. A state exemption allowed its use when soil conditions did not permit the use of copper pipe.
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