“We must become the change we wish to see in the world.” - Gandhi

Aquinas College

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)


PVC (also known as "vinyl") was first used to insulate electric cables in 1930, and became commercially available in 1942. It has a wide variety of uses in industry because it is strong, yet flexible and chemically nonreactive. The compound is used in construction-related products like tubing, flooring, ducts, and sprinkler systems, simple electric wire insulation, and coatings. According to Paul Goettlich, it is the second most common plastic worldwide, with 27 million tons produced each year.

PVC is problematic because when incinerated or otherwise burned, it releases dioxin, a toxin and known human carcinogen. Generally, PVC also contains plasticizers, such as Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP), that make it flexible and pliable. DEHP has been categorized as a probable human carcinogen.

Because of the extreme danger of PVC to humans and the environment, some companies are beginning to completely eliminate its use in their products.



The BlueVinyl site includes information on the basics of PVC, such as the use, transmission, and disposal of the dangerous chemical.


Greenpeace is a nonprofit organization, with a presence in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. As a global organization, Greenpeace focuses on the most crucial worldwide threats to our planet's biodiversity and environment. The site has a brief article explaining the uses of PVC and extreme drawbacks of the material.

Health Care Without Harm

This site is great for introductory information on PVC/DEHP, as well as safe alternatives, government reports, and other resources.

Microsoft Phasing out PVC

In 2003, Microsoft announced the beginning of a project to eliminate PVC from all packaging materials by the end of 2005. As of December 7, 2005, the company was confident in the completion of this goal by December 31st! This represents the elimination of 1.6 million pounds of Polyvinyl Chloride from our environment.

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