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Greenpeace Australia action at Olympic site. PVC pipes are replaced for alternative material.

Polyvinyl Chloride

The list of uses for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is endless because it is one of the most widely used plastics.

It is found in a wide range of consumer products such as packaging,cling film, bottles, credit cards, audio records and imitation leatheras well as construction materials such as window frames, cables, pipes,flooring, wallpaper and window blinds. It is also used by manufacturersfor car interiors and in hospitals as medical disposables.

However, the production of PVC creates and releases one of the most toxic chemicals - dioxin.

PVC products can leak harmful additives during use and disposal,when they are burned or buried. Burning creates and releases moredioxins and compounds containing chlorine, which further contaminatesthe environment.

PVC is difficult to recycle, resulting in much of it ending up inlandfills. Chemicals, such as phthalates are added to PVC to make itsoft and flexible.

Laboratory studies in animals show that some of these chemicals arelinked to cancer and kidney damage and may interfere with thereproductive system and its development.

Recent testing by several governments has also shown that children can ingest hazardous chemicals from PVC toys during use.

Governments and industry are taking action to eliminate PVC. Danishand Swedish governments are restricting PVC use, hundreds ofcommunities worldwide are eliminating PVC in buildings and manycompanies such as Nike, IKEA and The Body Shop have committed toeliminating PVC from their products.

Greenpeace is campaigning to phase out PVC in favour of more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The latest updates


IKEA shower curtain free of polluting PVC

Image | 26 April, 2005 at 1:00

IKEA shower curtain free of polluting PVC (vinyl) plastic. IKEA has eliminated hazardous chemicals from its products and takes a progressive stance on other environmental issues like avoiding unsustainable timber.

Piping made from PVC alternatives.

Image | 1 January, 1995 at 1:00

Piping made from PVC alternatives.

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