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Vinyl is Green

But are the reports true?  What about…

DIOXIN – Dioxin is a major concern with vinyl production. However consider these facts:

chart-dioxin-and-vinylEnvironmental releases of dioxin-like compounds decreased by approximately 90% between 1987 and 2000. Most of these reductions, almost 75%, occurred between 1987 and 1995. These reductions were achieved through a combination of regulatory activities, improved emission controls, voluntary actions on behalf of industry, and the closing of a number of obsolete facilities.

Declining levels of environmental dioxins are characterized by a changing pattern of emission sources over time. Industry and regulatory controls on waste incineration have resulted in a significantly lower contribution of dioxins from this source since 1987.

As dioxin emissions from industry decline, unregulated sources such as backyard barrel burning of garbage and residential wood burning rise in significance as contributors to dioxin emissions.

The combined dioxin emissions from ethylene dichloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride manufacture contributed 30 g-TEQ, or just over 2% of the total amount, in the year 2000. Backyard barrel burning, on the other hand contributed more then 35% of total dioxin emissions for the same year.

PVC is an extremely small source of dioxin – so small that levels in the environment would be essentially unchanged even if vinyl were not being manufactured and used every day in important products. The proof: dioxin levels in the environment have been declining for decades, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. During this time, production and use of vinyl have soared.

Air and water releases of dioxin from the chlorine industry fell to 8.6 grams in 2003, the most recent year of dioxin Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting. This amount represents less than 1 percent of 1995 dioxin emissions from all quantified sources in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Dioxin Source Inventory.

The EPA instituted dioxin reporting for certain industries, including chlorine producers and users, in the year 2000. Data show the chlorine sector’s total air and water dioxin emissions have declined 70% in four years of reporting. The chlorine industry is a small and vanishing source of dioxin emissions to the open environment.

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Written by Skye Creer

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