Positive Responses to Negative Statements About PVC: Part 2

Negative Statement: “Chlorine is harmful to humans and should be banned. Therefore, PVC products should be banned since they are made using chlorine.”

The use of chlorine to purify drinking water has done more to improve the health of the human race than any other technological change in history. Seventy-five percent of life-saving medicines are based on chlorine chemistry. Chlorine is one of the components of vinyl that helps make it fire resistant. At number 17 on the Periodic Table of Elements, chlorine is one of the most abundant elements on the planet. It is not possible to eliminate an element such as chlorine that occurs naturally and so abundantly. And why would one want to eliminate something that has done so much to further the human race?

Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, left the organization after 15 years because the environmental movement had abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism. Greenpeace calls vinyl the ‘poison plastic,” but Moore states that because of vinyl’s ease of maintenance and its ability to incorporate anti-microbial properties it is critical in fighting germs in hospitals.

Belief in junk science can lead to unintended consequences. In late 2000, Washington, D.C. switched from disinfecting drinking water with chlorine to disinfecting with chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia. Suddenly, lead levels began to rise. It was determined that the ammonia made the water more corrosive, which increased the amount of lead leaching from the pipes into the water.

Another example of negative consequences caused by junk science: Peru eliminated chlorine from its drinking water in the early 1990’s. An outbreak of cholera (1 million cases resulting in 10,000 deaths) was exacerbated by this move and Peruvian officials have since returned to using chlorine for disinfection.

PVC manufacturing in the United States is tightly controlled and very safe. Once chlorine is processed into vinyl, it is chemically locked into the product more tightly than it is in salt, and no chlorine is emitted from the finished product. This is true for roofing systems and other building components that use PVC.

Next Month’s Negative Statement: “The movie Blue Vinyl gives real life examples that prove that PVCs are bad and people have been harmed by working or living around PVC factories.”