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An abundance of scientific data indicates that Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a hazardous material that should be avoided when satisfactory alternatives are available. This position is consistent with findings of the USGBC LEED Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee PVC Task Group:

  • Chemicals used in or produced as byproducts in the manufacture of PVC are known to be toxic. These chemicals, including ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, and dioxin. Dioxin is bioaccumulative making it especially toxic to entire ecosystems. Further, most PVC products require additives for processing or durability. These additives include heavy metals, organotins, and phthalate plasticizers. These chemicals are implicated in cancer, endocrine disruption, endometriosis, neurological damage, birth defects, reproductive system damage, and immune system damage.
  • When exposed to heat from building fires, PVC releases gases that turn into hydrochloric acid and damage the respiratory system of building occupants and first-responders. Fire also releases dioxin and other toxic compounds.

As a consequence, PVC and its precursors are heavily regulated in an attempt to reduce environmental release and exposure. (See Table 8-1 in US Dept of Health and Human Services report, Toxicological Profile for Vinyl Chloride, 2006 www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp20.pdf.)

In response, many organizations in the construction industry now advocate against the use of PVC. For example:


With regards to ceiling and wall panels, a satisfactory alternative to PVC laminates is now available. Ceilings Plus has reformulated its Saranté finish to remove PVC. The new formulation is marketed as Saranté PVC Free. As so often happens when environmental concerns are addressed, the new formulation outperforms the old one without imposing a premium on cost.

Ceilings Plus has a corporate policy of continuously reducing our environmental footprint. While Saranté is now PVC free, we have identified PVC in accessories used with several other products. The small presence of PVC in these products is recognized under the Living Building Challenge as a “Minor Component”. We have, however, identified alternative, PVC-free products and are working with our vendors to eliminate PVC and other chemicals of concern.

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