US begins review that could eventually lead to PVC ban

On Thursday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed a review that would ultimately result in the manufacture of PVC plastic being discontinued, which would have an effect on everything from rubber ducks to records.

Hair sprays, refrigerants, cosmetics, and medications were prohibited from using vinyl chloride, which was formally identified as a human carcinogen in 1974 and utilized in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The same substance burnt in a black smoke tower above an Ohio town earlier this year after a train derailed.

However, PVC water pipes, home siding panels, commercial packaging, vinyl records, and bathtub toys are still made with it on a large scale.

The investigation involves four more chemicals, and the EPA stated in a statement that the action was "consistent with a commitment from the Biden-Harris Administration to understand and address environmental and toxic exposures" as part of the "Cancer Moonshot" effort of President Joe Biden.

Judith Enck, a former EPA regional administrator and president of the group Beyond Plastics, responded to the announcement by telling AFP, "Today is step one, and we've been waiting for step one for decades."

Restrictions on the use and disposal of PVC have been progressively tightened by national, state, and local governments worldwide.

"Vinyl chloride threatens our health and contaminates the environment from manufacture through disposal, with workers and people who live near chemical facilities and along vinyl chloride distribution routes experiencing the greatest exposures and danger," said Liz Hitchcock of Toxic-Free Future.

However, in an October comment that was expected, the trade association Vinyl Institute stated: "We welcome EPA's study, which will further guarantee that manufacture of vinyl chloride and PVC products is safe.

"Manufacturers of vinyl chloride adhere to some of the most stringent safety and environmental regulations in the chemical industry."

The procedure, which will last a year and involve a public comment period, will commence on Tuesday. According to Enck, the EPA will make its plans known by December 2024. These might include doing nothing, imposing more limits on PVC, or outright outlawing the material in the country.