Avoid using PVC

I see a lot of projects that use or re-use different grades of PVC pipe due to its easy use and availability. Free or cheap PVC seems to be a good material choice for those who lack the tools and skills needed for metal or wood work. I suggest that builder rethink this choice. Exposure to PVC is dangerous to your health. Fumes and dust from cutting, drilling and accidental burning or overheating PVC are known to cause cancer.
A few points:
PVC production is the largest use of chlorine gas in the world.
Chlorine production consumes enormous amounts of energy.
Chlorine production causes mercury pollution.
Hazardous by-products are formed throughout the PVC lifecycle.
By-products of PVC production are highly persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.
PVC is extremely difficult to recycle.
PVC is one of the most environmentally hazardous consumer materials ever produced.
source: http://www.healthybuilding.net/pvc/ThorntonPVCSummary.html

Different grades of PVC have different melting points, flash and glass temperatures.
At 70-80 Degrees C (~150 F), most grades begin to soften and degrade in performance. This should be taken into account when building projects that involve any kind of direct or indirect heat, including hot water, etc.

(I've edited this post to contain more useful information)

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snotty7 years ago
Bamboo is pretty good. I just made an awesome, strong, bamboo bicycle. And bamboo is not going to give you cancer like PVC will. PVC is cheap but chemotherapy is expensive. I guess cancer is the high cost of cheap material.

What about PEX pipe? Has anyone used it? PEX is common in DIY solar applications and I think it's non-toxic.  Can someone verify this?

snotty snotty7 years ago
Oh and I made bamboo wind turbine blades too. They're in an art show in Toyko right now.
NCRatSniper8 years ago
Damn hippies.
hippy that doesn't help protect the earth.
If we don't use the PVC, more of it will go into landfills.
"PVC is no recyclable" If it isn't recyclable, then why do people use it for other purposes? That's recyclyling(?)
Besides, the problem with scrap wood here and there, it could burn, and ruin the project.ductape?
Exactly! PVC piping is first, easy to deal with, second, easy to get ones hands on, and third: Cheap!
Im cheap so.. yeah... 100% with ya :)
me too!
thank you
blugyblug8 years ago
"PVC production is still extremely unfriendly to the environment and human health" Not using PVC wont stop it from being manufactured. You say PVC is bad for the environment when it is manufactured, but when it is manufactured, if you dont buy it, someone else will buy it and it will be used for something. Too bad. I thought you would say something like "PVC shrapnel is really bad in Spud guns" or something, but it went onto this rant about the environment... I really dont think anyone will really heed this advice. No offense but seriously, no one really listens to stuff like this.
toxonix (author)  blugyblug8 years ago
How much of that was a rant about the environment? I object to its use on many levels, not just environmental.
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