PVC was the first synthetic product to be patented (1913) and has undergone a great development in the past decade. This is most probably attributable to the fact that, being a plastic closely linked to the industry of chlorine, a key element of its constitution, is to be a low-cost product. Chlorine, in fact, has been for many years a simple waste product of caustic soda used in various industrial processes. The high availability of chlorine on the market has been absorbed by various sectors such as DDT, PCB, pesticides and solvents. As the use of these products, as a result of their high hazard to human health, has been banned, chlorine has found an outlet always greater in PVC. Currently produces about 18 million tonnes each year of PVC in the world, which account for 30 percent of the total production of chlorine.
PVC has progressively replaced other traditional materials, despite its entire life cycle poses serious risks to human and environmental health.
Environmental problems and health risks:
If ingested, it can cause cancer and birth defects, liver damage, kidney and other organs, hemorrhages and aneurysms. DCE is a highly flammable material which, in case of combustion, generates gas containing hydrochloric acid and phosgene, both extremely toxic. 95 percent of its production is destined to the formation of PVC monomer, a highly carcinogenic and flammable gas. CVM poisoning determines bone decalcification, fingers deformation, skin lesions, impotence, difficulty breathing, liver damage and the blood circulation and a form of liver cancer called angiosarcoma. In 1990 were 157 cases of death from this type of cancer caused by exposure to CVM, while experts will provide between 140 and 150 in the next thirty years. Despite workers to its production represent a higher risk category, CVM is released in large quantities, particularly by atmospheric releases. In 1992, the ENICHEM said they had entered into the atmosphere 2.136 tonnes of DCE and over 1.036 tonnes of CVM.
Every leak can cause an explosion, because its flammable point and its critical temperature is very low. Between 1964 and 1980, we documented 17 incidents during the transportation of CVM that required the evacuation of adjacent populations to the place of issue. In Italy, tens of thousands of tonnes of CVM through every day, on road and rail, densely populated urban areas.
In Austria the use of DEHP has banned in packaging in direct contact with food, in Switzerland in toys destinated for children under three years, while in Germany it is not recommended the use in the rings stimulants teething babies. Ecotoxicological consequences of DEHP have placed it among the most environmentally toxic substances in the Netherlands and the United States. The heavy metals used as stabilizers during the phases constitute a problem of disposal. In 1987, Denmark has banned the use of cadmium in PVC, while the European Community has recommended the disposal.
c) Non-durable items:
When waste is destinated to incineration face to energy recovery, the high concentration of chlorine in the polymer makes this process extremely more difficult and less profitable, given not flammable features of PVC. In addition, during the incineration, PVC releases significant amounts of hydrochloric acid, dioxins and furans extremely harmful to human health and the environment. It is estimated that the incineration of 1kg of PVC genres 50 micrograms of dioxin. The incineration remains also contain high concentrations of heavy metals used as stabilizers in PVC production, which make more complex the disposal of ash. In the case of disposal in landfills, PVC tends to degrade, releasing the additives that make it up, some of which are extremely dangerous.
d) Durable goods:
In Italy 50 percent of PVC product (approximately 500.000 tonnes each year) is employed in the building industry where it is used in plumbing drainage, gutters, windows, insulation of electrical cables, wallpaper, flooring, panelling, etc. In some northern European Countries where the interiors of the buildings are made mostly from PVC, it was recently mentioned the possibility that the plasticizers that are released from the polymer may be responsible for some syndromes of depression affecting people stationed for long periods in the premises.
What happens abroad.
The chlorine industry and its various applications are the subject of an increasing interest on the part of the supervisory bodies, following the proven environmental and health consequences. PVC production and use are undergoing a gradual downsizing that grows as you acquire data on its actual and potential environmental impact. The actions taken so far concern both government initiatives both decisions of producers and users of PVC:
Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Bregenz, Feldkirch, Dornbirn, St. Valentine, Hochst, Wolfsberg and Judenburg have approved the disposal of PVC in packaging, for flooring and windows or a more general disposal of PVC in public buildings. In Vienna, the new hospital SMZ-Ost Hospital is almost entirely free of PVC, such as is the subway line and much of the public transport system.
In June 1993 was approved at the first House of Parliament a law on the taxation of plastic bottles for food. For PVC bottles was proposed higher rate of 15 francs per bottle.
Grena Hospital started the replacement of PVC products since 1986 and has so far reduced its consumption by 70 percent. The chain of supermarkets IRMA has reduced by 99 percent the sale of products containing PVC. The town of Aahus has decided to eliminate the use of PVC in hospitals and other public buildings. To facilitate this process of substitution was published a manual containing over 500 items for hospitals and offices free of PVC.
Currently, three States and eighty municipalities have started the process of banning the use of PVC. Sony Europe has decided to eliminate all types of plastic for the packaging of its products. In case of impossibility of use of another material, PVC will be replaced with other polymers without chlorine. AEG decided to manufacture free products of PVC. Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW and Opel have programs for a minimum use of PVC in their cars. The distribution chain Tangelman and producer of cosmetics Wella have replaced PVC used in packaging.
In Chiba Prefecture, the assemblies of the city of Abiko and Narasion have issued resolutions to reduce the amount of PVC used.
In 1991 the Council of the capital decided to not allow the use of PVC tile pipes for sewer system in the capital. This provision relates to both public and private buildings.
Bergen has decided to delete use of PVC from public buildings.
The draft law on sustainable development, voted by swedish government in 1993, emphasizes the need to delete PVC in products in the short life cycle, as a result of the environmental problems associated with its use. IKEA company has decided to remove the use of PVC in all applications for which alternatives are available. Tarkett, a manufacturer of plastic flooring, decided in July 1993 to phase out PVC from its products, recognizing the impossibility of reasonably objected to allegations about the overall environmental impact of this plastic.
From 1st November 1991 is the prohibition of the use of PVC bottles for mineral water. The distribution chain Migros has eliminated 75 percent of the PVC used in its stores.
According to the organizations dedicated to the ecosustainability of property;
“In Construction industry no use of floors, windows and doors in PVC is feasible.”
Finally, according to the organizations dedicated to residential buildings that are characterized not only by the high energy saving, but also for ecological building techniques and using environmentally friendly materials and renewable energy sources, therefore, the eco-sustainability of the property, no use of floors, windows and doors in PVC is feasible:
The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the most amount of chlorinated organic substances present on the market. The building will use 60%. PVC is mainly used to produce pipes, windows, flooring, cables and insulation. When PVC is solid there are no risks of toxicity and does not involve environmental risks. The problems affecting the production process in which they are used numerous pollutants at high risk environment. In the production steps are added substances largely toxic stabilizers such as (heavy metals), dyes, and plasticizers (phthalates), flame retardants and other. Furthermore develop dioxins and furans. PVC also presents other negative aspects linked to the recycling and the possible risks in case of fire. Based on these considerations as seen above in different Nations and countries with modern advanced the use of PVC in public buildings was abolished.
For the newspaper article:
For PVC definition:
The data contained in this site are provided for information purposes only and is not intended for any other purpose whether commercial or non-commercial. Our company and its staff can not be held responsible for any errors or omissions in the content, or for actions taken with respect to the contents themselves. With the access to this site and to our sites, the visitor agrees not to redistribute the information found here. The links we provide are for your sheer comfort. We don’t endorse or recommend the services of any company. The company you select is only responsible to you and/or against other users, for their services. We are not responsible for any and all damages or costs of any kind that may be generated by the ‘use of our services or for those who in any way should be connected with them.