Polyvinyl chloride is a widely used plastic known for its ease of processing and durability. The material is flame retardant and does not usually decompose when exposed to the sun’s rays.
Applications of polyvinyl chloride
PVC is available in two forms. Rigid PVC is not flexible and is used, for example, for pipelines or garden and camping furniture. Soft PVC is made flexible by the incorporation of plasticisers and is used in synthetic leather, waterbed cores or even flooring.
Environment and health
PVC can be recycled, but it usually loses quality in the process. When incinerated in waste recycling plants, corrosive hydrogen chloride is produced, and in the presence of metal or carbon, the toxic gas phosgene can even be produced.
The source material of PVC (vinyl chloride) can cause cancer in humans and is considered to be mutagenic.
Some of the plasticisers contained, such as phthalates, are damaging to the liver and kidneys and are also suspected of being carcinogenic. Other plasticisers are considered to be harmful to fertility. Some plasticisers are banned in children’s toys for this reason.
The material is not harmless. It can, for example, have a carcinogenic effect or alter genetic material.
It’s very difficult to completely avoid PVC. It is the third most commonly used plastic. You should, however, make sure that products for kids and foodstuffs in particular are free of PVC.
An increasing number of companies from all industries are looking for appropriate alternatives to produce PVC-free – including in the outdoor industry of course.