ALERT Learn More | NASP Certification Program: The Path to Success Has Many Routes. Choose Yours

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Last updated: June 29, 2019

What Does Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Mean?

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a thermoplastic made of 57% chlorine (derived from common salt) and 43% carbon (derived from ethylene from hydro-carbon feed stocks, sugar crops, crude oil and natural gas). It is a natural resource that saves plastic as it is less dependent on oil or natural gas like many other polymers. The uses of PVC are virtually limitless.

Safeopedia Explains Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC was first commercially produced in 1933. Initially, it was used for cable insulation only. Now, it is also used as pipes, tubes, packaging materials, footwear, hand gloves, food wrapping cling films, artificial leathers, house building materials, cards and many more.

PVC is popular because it is flame retardant, thus it is suitable for fire protection. There is low to zero lead content, it is thermally stable, high gloss, easy to process, and is ultra-violate ray resistant. However, It is sensitive to oxidative degradation, heavier than other plastics, and its decomposition produces hydrochloric acid. During the production process of PVC, a toxic chemical called dioxin is produced. PVC products may leak harmful additives containing chlorine during use in high temperatures and disposal (burn or burying). PVC is difficult to recycle and some of the chemicals used during production may be linked to cancer, kidney diseases and failure of reproductive systems. Some governments and companies are now restricting the use of PVC.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


PPEEHS ProgramsIndustrial HygieneRemediation

Trending Articles

Go back to top