- Last Updated on Thursday, July 25 2013 19:26
What is Vinyl?
Vinyl stems from two basic ingredients: ethylene (from fossil fuels), and common salt. These two ingredients are combined and reacted to form Poly-Vinyl Chloride (PVC) or Vinyl Resin. Because 50% of PVC resin comes from common salt (NaCl), it uses less fossil fuel to manufacture an equivalent amount compared to other polymers (such as polypropylene, polyurethane).
For flexible PVC or Vinyl, Vinyl Resin is blended with plasticizers (flexibility), stabilizers, (for processing and long term durability) and pigments to form a myriad of colors; melted and formed into sheeting or molded into shapes.
A variety of additives can be added to the PVC resin to create specific compounds in order to achieve many of the attributes and benefits associated with PVC.
Benefits of PVC:
- PVC is strong, durable and cost-efficient with over 50 years of successful uses such as: buried pipes, liners, window frames, vinyl siding, automotive seating, medical equipment and more.
- PVC possesses flame resistance properties and is resistant to oil and other chemicals.
- It's a good insulator and weather resistant which makes it ideal for use in wire and cables.
- Because of its chemical stability, PVC is generally easy to process/blend.
- PVC is less dependent on non-renewable “Natural Resources” such as Crude Oil or Natural Gas.
Is Vinyl safe?
- No free Chlorine (chlorine gas) is emitted from the end product.
- Chlorine is present in over 80% of pharmaceuticals (antihistamines (Benedryl, Reactine, Cetirizine), antidepressants (Prozac). It is not free chlorine, but chemically bonded, the same as with vinyl.
- A blue-ribbon panel of leading physicians and scientists chaired by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop concluded in 1999 that vinyl toys and medical devices made with PVC resin and phthalate plasticizers are not harmful to children or adults.
- Flexible Vinyl is the number one material used for blood bags, and IV tubes around the world (for over 30 years) and has not been shown to have caused any health related issues.
- Vinyl is approved by the NSF in Ann Arbor and the British Standards in the UK to line potable water reservoirs and transport drinking water. It would not still be used for these applications if it was toxic in any known way.
- Vinyl has been used longer than most other plastics and has been tested more than any other plastic.
- Vinyl is used to insulate the vast majority of electrical wiring in the world, because it is safe, fire resistant, and non-conductive.
- In more than 40 years of study, Plasticizers used in the automotive markets (seating, interior parts, etc.) have been proved by independent scientists and government bodies to be unharmful to humans.
- Vinyl liners are used to line landfills and protect the groundwater around the world.
- Vinyl Roofing has been granted by the US EPA, Energy Star ratings for their energy efficiency.
- Vinyl is easily recycled and is remelted into many useful products. 100’s of Millions of pounds are recycled annually in North America.
Why is Vinyl viewed negatively?
Vinyl was previously targeted for many years as a source of dioxins, a toxic compound, but more recent independent peer reviewed scientific studies have shown there is no relationship between the use or manufacture of vinyl products and dioxin levels in the environment. In fact, dioxin levels have sharply decreased over the last 30 years while the production and use of vinyl has more than tripled. (See table below).
Early forms of Vinyl used lead stabilizers, but that changed many years ago. For over 20 years, lead and other heavy metals have been banned and eliminated from all consumer and interior automotive vinyl applications in Europe, North America and Japan.
Dioxins and Vinyl Production
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