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PVC toxic?

jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
PVC/ABS is allowed in residential high rises up to 10 stories in MA.

It is strickly a Union/Open Shop issue in my home State. Nothing more, nothing less.



  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    Heard something about this on CNBC

    "PVC - The Poison Plastic

    PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl, is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.

    New Car or Shower Curtain Smell? The Smell of PVC

    PVC is useless without the addition of a plethora of toxic additives, which can make the PVC product itself harmful to consumers. These chemicals can evaporate or leach out of PVC, posing risks to children and consumers. New car smell? New shower curtain smell? That’s the smell of poisonous chemicals off-gassing from the PVC. One of the most common toxic additives is DEHP, a phthalate that is a suspected carcinogen and reproductive toxicant readily found in numerous PVC products. Children can be exposed to phthalates by chewing on vinyl toys. While it is still legal for US retailers to sell PVC children’s and baby toys containing dangerous phthalates, the European Parliament voted in July, 2005 to permanently ban the use of certain toxic phthalates in toys. One EPA study found that vinyl shower curtains can cause elevated levels of dangerous air toxins, which can persist for more than a month."

    The above quote is from: http://www.besafenet.com/pvc/about.htm

    I'm unsure of the source. Tree Huggers with an agenda - or, real science and something we should be more aware of?

    Whattaya think?

  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    I think we all know...

    PVC when burned gives off one of the most toxic gasses known to man (Dioxin). But no one I know burns it. It is banned from use in NYC because of a fire (not plumbing) code - because of the potential toxicity to firemen.

    What's next? PEX? Copper? c.i. no-hub?

    We know copper is toxic, but then, so is beer.
  • Home Depot Employee


    And the reason given to protect the firefighter is the biggest joke!

    As a past Volunteer Firefighter Officer, I offer the following:

    NFPA requires firefighting personnel to wear SCBA's (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) when entering a structure to suppress a fire or investigate a smoke condition.

    This movement actually can be traced back to the Plumbers Union attempting to save their jobs and keep PVC out of buildings hoping that a cast iron pipe requirement/code would or will stay in place. After all, it takes a plumber to install cast iron but installing PVC, have glue will travel.

    So when I hear PVC is toxic to firemen, I chuckle as it didn’t bother me a bit while fighting the fire. In fact, our concern is more about the man made materials in furniture, carpeting and other household/commercial structures that burn quick and create heat exposing us to flashovers.

    Ex Capt.
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    of all the stinky crap that will burn in a building, what percentage is PVC waste drain vents? lets see, carpet, cushions, curtains, glue from particle board furniture.....

    Ken, try doing jumping jacks in the smoke of a nice camp fire, you'll understand why they need fresh air devices.

  • scrook_2
    scrook_2 Member Posts: 610
    PVC & fires

    MA prohibits it in commercial construction for DWV etc., so you see a lot of hubless CI (& some copper), (also PVC jacketed NM "romex" in bldg's greater than 3 stories and in plenum spaces above ceilings IIRC).

    This is differance to between plenum and non plenum cables (FEP or similar jacket vs PVC). Issue isn't so much fire fighter protection as bldg occupant protection as they leave and fire fighters arrive, though less opaque, toxic smoke is always a good thing. Residentially there's less opportunity to distribute fumes/thru the structure/HVAC system. OTOH it's great for exterior and buried electrical & communications conduits and buried storm water & gravity sanitary sewer piping.
  • Big Al
    Big Al Member Posts: 35

    I work in the plastics industry. A number of years ago a federal agency tried to come up with a test to determine how toxic plastics were when they burned, and to possibly regulate or ban things that produced toxic fumes. Even things like wood and paper failed the test. They found that almost anything that burns produces loads of carbon monoxide. In a typical fire, the toxic fumes from man-made materials are minor compared to the amount of carbon monoxide produced.
  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562

    Might as well play a little Devil's advocate here. Just today I heard that the proper way to dispose of medicine is to put in with the kitty litter.Seems that flushing them down the drain ends up with polluted waterways.

    I have read and I believe you will find resources on this site under Green Building that pvc is not an approved green material. There are rumors about it giving off small quantities of vapors continuosly.

    Years ago I remember swimming in Lake Superior and due to the local paper mill and lax pollution control we came out of the water with strips of cellophane on us. Then there was the taconite tailings from the mills on the west shores of Lake Superior that found there way 45 miles into Chequamegon Bay.

    Many and I do mean many opposed the expensive corrections necessary to remediate these problems.However we all are better off today because of those who forced action.

    Hindsight is 20/20 and through many hard lessons of trial and error we have kept our lakes and other natural resources in fair condition. Do not discount these claims as fiction until the jury is out (so to speak)

    Plastics while convenient and cost saving do indeed leave a questionable impact on our environment. If you doubt that perhaps you should find some objective(or neutral) resources for reading!

    Rich K.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
    Oh lord...

    And brocolli, in case you didn't know, is a hazardous waste if you test it.

    PVC, when it burns, isn't nice: it gives off hydrochloric acid. Otherwise, it's not so bad.

    If the PVC in question is NSF approved, it is non-toxic and perfectly safe.

    There are no products, the manufacture of which does not involve some hazardous compounds. That's life.

    I do wish these folks (not you guys, the CNBC reporter types) would get a life...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    ME and PVC...

    We been hanging out together for nigh on 33 years now. I remember what I was doing when I first found out that it is extremely toxic and carcinogenic. I was bored during lunch, eating my PB&J sandwich, up to my elbows in dried on PVC cement, reading the warning label on the back of the can...

    I remember getting drunk one time with his cousin, purple primer. Knocked th can over in a closely confined crawl space. Next thing I know, I'm banging my head on floor joist thinking it's the funniest thing I'd done all day long. After my dad led me to fresh air, and dried me out, I didn't think it was so funny any more...

    Face it, we are surrounded by toxic chemcials. You young'uns ought to pay attention to these warnings and not unnecessarily expose yourself to these chemicials any more than necessary. Gawd knows what cancers are still lurking within that wouldn't have been an issue had I not exposed myself to all the toxins I have over the last 33 years...

    No one gets out of here alive (Jim Morrison)...

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
    Sounds familiar

    In 1972, myself and another apprentice hatched a brilliant plan - heat up some 2" PVC so we could snake it thru a series of drilled holes. We aimed the torch down the pipe, and soon enough it got soft like a big noodle; but there was SMOKE coming from it. He drew a big lungful of green smoke (getting ready to purge); dropped to his knees, and blew lunch for several long minutes. PLEASE - keep an eye on your helpers.
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