PVC: A DANGER TO OUR HEALTH ROOM
We are often asked which are the best frames, aluminum frames or PVC frames. How ecological are PVC frames? How safe is it to make windows? Before reading Mr. Tsipiras's article, find out about Greenpeace's point of view.
PVC: A dangerous roommate for our health
Source: K. Tsipiras, Architect, "Ecological Architecture"
Mineral water bottles, wrapping boxes and jellies, credit cards, trays, or toys, constructions for window frames, doors, walls, surfaces, pipes and gutters, floors, upholstery, shutters and curtains. As early as 1913, PVC was the first widely used synthetic product. In the 1930s large quantities of chlorine were supplied to Nazi Germany as part of a program to make Germany independent from the import of cotton in the event of war.
The program focused on the production of rayon (textile fibers) and for this purpose required larger quantities of caustic soda from the chlor-alkali industry. After many years of experimentation with stabilizers, lubricants and fabric softeners, it was found that PVC fibers could be made. Thus, what was once a toxic, useless by-product of the caustic soda industry is now becoming a marketable commodity. Within a few years, PVC had become the most important, mass-produced, synthetic material in Germany, with the exception of polyethylene. a) But is this plastic so harmful? The answer is that the supposedly harmless piece of PVC pipe is the product of a particularly dangerous materials industry, as it binds to chlorine more than any other material. After 40 years (in 1990) the German Council of Environmental Experts explained: "Chemists and engineers in industry and academia increasingly accept that the dynamic growth of chlorinated compounds in the 1950s and 1960s was crucial a mistake in the industrial development of the 20th century, which would not have happened if there was knowledge of the environmental problems and the risks to human health due to chlorine ".
PVC in its normal state is hard and brittle and it is necessary to use plasticizers (read the case of burning PVC). In Austria, DEHP (additive in plasticizer composition) is prohibited in such packaging. In Switzerland, the use of the product in the manufacture of toys for children under 3 years of age was banned in 1986. In Germany, its use in dental rings is no longer "recommended", while in the Netherlands, where its ecotoxic activity is more widely recognized, it is considered of the most dangerous substances for the environment. DEHP is fat soluble and is absorbed by the fatty products it comes in contact with. PVC is thus detected in the blood, which is stored in hospitals and, consequently, in the blood of patients who have received transfusions, in patients with hemolysis.
These patients suffer from a long list of diseases, such as skin and liver irritations, as well as heart disease and circulatory system diseases. Although medical applications of PVC do not account for more than 3% of total PVC production, they are an important area of public relations for the industry that it claims is essential for hospitals. The downside is that PVC is not just a material. To acquire properties that make it easy to use, it must be enriched with many additives. Thousands of different combinations are used for different products. Who would want, for example, a children's toy containing a cocktail of cadmium "stabilizers", polybrominated retarders and plasticizers? In addition to the uses of PVC mentioned above, there are areas where its use is not widely known, such as, among other things, construction work and vehicle construction. Products of this type have a shelf life of 10 to 20 years before being discarded. For all these (long-lived) products, the issue of landfilling has become a crisis.
Although a large part of the Ypaza is buried in separate landfills - where there are such - which is not the case in Greece, the waste from repairs and decoration ends up in public landfills, where the additives can be washed away and leaked into the landfill. environment. The international ecological organization Greenpeace has collected the latest data on dichloroethane (EDC) and vinyl chloride (VCM) units, which are intermediates for the production of PVC plastics. The data refer to the period 1988-1993 and come from the same chlorine industry and the Ministries of Environment of different European countries. In Greece, PVC production is done by EKO in Thessaloniki. In addition to the annual production of 75,000t PVC, EKO acquired the EDC / VCM units of ETHYL, when the latter closed its factory a few years ago. EKO exports 20,000-40,000 t EDC and imports 70,000 t VCM per year. EKO has included in its investment program, among others, the creation of a new VCM production with a capacity of 100,000t per year. Both the existing and the planned EDC / VCM units are a real "bomb" for Thessaloniki and threaten thousands of residents with cancer and reproductive problems.
Tip: Do not use plastic frames in your buildings! According to Greenpeace, PVC plastic is one of the most serious risks to humans and the environment. DEHP plasticizer ¬ one of the most toxic substances used in the manufacture of PVC ¬ can pass into food from wrapping jellies and plastic utensils. Its use in food packaging has already been banned in Austria and in Switzerland in the manufacture of toys. The extensive use of PVC in the modern home poses a serious threat to our health: vinyl floors and wallpapers, leatherette clothes, bath curtains, tarpaulins, grilles, electrical equipment, cable insulation, etc. Many of the substances contained in PVC evaporate easily so that humans are easily exposed to them.
In case of fire, a toxic cloud of smoke is created and dangerous compounds such as dioxins are emitted. A fire in a Beverly Hills club fire in 1977 killed 161 people without direct contact with the flames, before wood parts began to burn and carbon dioxide levels reached dangerous levels. Four more died due to complications, while many survivors suffered severe damage to their respiratory system. Deaths and injuries were a direct result of the presence of PVC.