PVCu Myths - The Record Is Set Straight In This Article
23rd October 2014
PVCu is the world’s most researched polymer, with numerous life cycle studies conducted in the UK and the EU indicating the material is as sustainable as any other option.
The major ingredient of PVCu is common salt – an abundant natural resource. In this article we look to provide some facts on this wonderful material which is in use every day at Euroglaze and in our lives.
1. The Myth - PVCu is not sustainable as it is made of chlorine. The Truth - PVCu is the world’s most researched polymer, with numerous life cycle studies conducted in the UK and the EU indicating the material is as sustainable as any other option. The major ingredient of PVC is common salt – an abundant natural resource - 50 quadrillion tonnes of salt in the worlds seas!
2. The Myth - PVCu production operations are "Dioxin Factories". The Truth - The industry is strictly regulated. It is very low contribution to dioxin levels is confirmed by recent inventories of dioxin sources in the UK. The highest dioxin concentration allowed from industrial discharge is 0.1ng/cubic metre omission. UK studies suggest that as much as 14% of the total UK annual emissions can be attributed to Bonfire Night celebrations on November 5th. ‘A Review of Dioxin Emission in the UK’, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) in 1995 concurs that iron, steel and non-ferrous metals production are seen as the dominant contributors. According to the report, more dioxins are released to the atmosphere through sources involving the combustion of wood than are produced by the entire halogenated chemicals industry.
3. The Myth - PVCu production is extremely energy intensive. The Truth - Energy used in manufacture is low compared to other materials e.g. aluminium. The manufacture of one cubic decimetre of PVCu requires only two kilograms of mineral oil, for a cubic decimetre of steel, as much as five kilos of oil and for a cubic decimetre of aluminium, even as much as 15 kilograms of oil. Even in comparison with other polymers, PVCu comes out well, necessitating on average about half as much oil in production. Furthermore, the oil contained in PVCu products can be used to generate energy in incineration plants, even after several decades.
4. The Myth - PVCu is the "poison plastic" The Truth - Sept 06 Epidemiological study conducted by Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) workers exposed to PVCu dust with the death rate lower in PVCu workers than general population. There is no evidence that PVCu dust causes lung cancer or heart disease.
5. The Myth - PVCu is dangerous in accidental fires. The Truth - PVCu is difficult to ignite and if ignited PVC self extinguishes. PVCu will not spread flame on its own and offers a low rate of heat release. PVCu will burn in a fire but if you remove the source of ignition PVCu goes out, which is why, for example, it is mandatory to use it for insulation on all wiring and in a conduit through which wires and electricity pass.
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