The PVC Debate

The PVC debateHistoric criticism of PVC has come in 3 basic areas:

  • Hazards involved in the production of the polymer
  • The additives used in giving PVC its many different properties – stabilisers that are used to help process PVC into products and give those products added longevity and plasticizers that are used to make flexible articles from a material that is rigid in its natural state
  • Hazards associated with the disposal of PVC products at their end of life

The chemistry of PVC has been understood since the end of the last century. The plastic was first commercially produced in Europe in the 1930s and in the past 60 years it has undergone continuous development and improvement. PVC's adaptability comes from its molecular structure. This makes possible many different blends of ingredients providing a range of properties, enabling the PVC industry to respond to the commercial and technical needs of many market sectors. This adaptability also allows the industry to respond to environmental requirements.

Like many other materials, the manufacture of PVC involves the use of potentially hazardous chemicals. Such manufacturing methods are very closely regulated.Today, PVC is probably the world’s most researched plastic/polymer.

  • Manufacturing facts: Extremely strict guidelines govern PVC manufacture and workers’ exposure
  • Application facts: A substantial volume of research and over 50 years of experience, support the fact that PVC can be safely used even in the most sensitive of applications (such as medical devices).
  • End of life facts: PVC is one of the most recyclable of polymers but can be disposed of, if required, quite safely