Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is a synthetic polymer that can be used to create both hard and (with the addition of plasticizers such as phthalates) soft plastics. PVC is used in many different products including pipes, packaging, cable insulation, imitation leather, window frames, inflatables and flooring. There are concerns about the safety of PVC, due to the presence of plasticizers, particularly phthalates. Because phthalates are not chemically bonded to the polymer, they are prone to leaching and off-gassing. Phthalates have been labelled as ‘plausibly’ endocrine disruptors in some scientific studies, and their use has been in decline in recent years due to public and scientific pressure.