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Do you know a scientific word for decay? Seeking a word for what happens when a PVC pipe infects a greenhouse by shedding lead particles.

Entropy, decay, diffusion, pollution

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Other answers have appropriate terms for decay but because you specifically mention PVC and lead particles I must clarify for you no metallic lead is shed from PVC. There is some LEACHING of lead ions because they are used to stabilize PVC. There wouldn't be an "infection" [biological] as much as a contamination [chemical] of the greenhouse, but the article below says transfer of lead into the plants is minimal.

http://containergardening.about.com/od/greencontainergardening/a/Gardenhose.htm

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Good point.

Leaking, right? Leaching implies consciousness to me, for some reason.

To me, a minimal amount of lead is too much lead. I'd much rather use wood or something resembling food grade PE.

The amount of synonyms sure is confusing. I look up disseminate on wiki and the only subject directly connected is rhetoric !
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Leach is correct and the article in the reference uses it specifically. This context - where something is leached or dissolved out of something else and still the something else remains - is common in chemistry and where leaching finds its usefulness in a sentence. Glass vessels can have trace amounts of metals in them and in analytical chemistry we have to be careful when looking for the presence of something that it actually came in the sample we put into the glass container to prepare it or was leached from the container. You may be thinking of a leech which is alive.
I must wonder how wood would replace the PVC since my first thought is you have PVC water pipes.
Try this link for disseminate synonyms:
http://thesaurus.com/browse/dissemination
Thanks for liking my answer :)
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decomposition?

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All great proposals, but I think they're too general to quite cut the cheese for this particular case. What do you feel about dissemination?
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Biodegrade is the scientific name for things that decay.

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Contamination

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candybar

Erosion

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Degradation

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