The world we live in today is constantly changing towards an unfavorable future. And we, as co-inhabitants of the Earth that we share with other beings, are more obliged than ever to respect this home. In this sense, information is essential.
Before taking actions or purchasing decisions, we must know what products we are buying and how these actions will impact our planet and the future of our descendants.
At Pasquín we try to ensure that our products have a positive impact on the architectural spaces we inhabit, and at the same time we work to make the footprint we leave on our Planet as light as possible.
For this reason we have the responsibility to tell you that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as vinyl , has become one of the most used types of plastics on the market. It is used in packaging, home furnishings, children's toys, automobile parts, construction materials, hospital supplies and hundreds of other products... such as wallpaper.
PVC can be versatile and relatively inexpensive, right? However, the price we pay for a PVC pipe or a soft vinyl toy is much higher than it seems.
Why can it be dangerous?
The problem with PVC is that certain phthalates, as well as their metabolites and products used for their degradation, can cause adverse effects on human health: in particular, in the liver, kidneys, testicles and can even affect development during the childish. Additionally, some plasticizers also have endocrine disrupting properties or are even suspected of being carcinogenic.
On the other hand, Greenpeace has been carrying out a campaign since 1987 to achieve the progressive elimination of organochlorines. The production of these compounds releases persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic substances for the environment and health. 37% of global chlorine production is used in the manufacturing process of PVC plastic , becoming the largest source of these dangerous substances.
For this reason, since 1990, Greenpeace has focused especially on PVC or vinyl, and demands the replacement of this plastic with safer materials.
PVC production and the danger with its workers and users
It is surprising to think that something as simple as the wallpaper we use can be so dangerous for users and workers, very similar to what happens in “fast fashion”, but look at this:
PVC is a plastic that contains chlorine in its composition (57% of virgin plastic is chlorine). Its manufacturing, like other industrial processes that use chlorine, involves the formation and emission into the environment of toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative organochlorine substances. The gases, wastewater and waste emitted and discharged by this plastic factories contain vinyl chloride, hexachlorobenzene, PCBs, dioxins and many other extremely toxic organochlorine substances.
Here you can find detailed information on alarming cases that have been found in plants in Catalonia and Italy.
What about PVC waste and the environment?
PVC building materials have an average life of 5 to 30 years, depending on the product in question. Once they become waste, these materials end up in waste dumps, MSW (Urban Solid Waste) landfills or incinerators. In landfills, PVC additives are gradually released from the materials that contain them, contaminating soil and water. If waste is burned, either in landfills or incinerators, the chlorine it contains is converted to hydrochloric acid (a corrosive gas) and toxic organochlorine substances, including dioxins.
It is estimated that in 1999 the total amount of annual PVC waste was about 4.1 million tons in the European Union, which can be divided into 3.6 million tons of post-consumer PVC waste and 0.5 million tons of pre-consumer waste. These figures explain the great importance of PVC waste management in the global analysis of its environmental impact.
Is there an option to PVC?
The good news is that this industrial transition can be achieved fairly for everyone involved: plastics manufacturers, industrial workers and host communities. PVC can be replaced with safer materials in virtually all cases. Substitutes for PVC include traditional materials such as clay, glass, ceramic and linoleum. In cases where traditional materials cannot be used as a replacement, even chlorine-free plastics are preferable to PVC.
As consumers increasingly demand PVC-free products, while recognizing the environmental and health costs of this component, practical alternatives are becoming more economically viable.
And this is Pasquín's bet. We believe that we can be part of the change, and that is why our line of adhesive and traditional wallpaper is completely free of harmful substances ( certified by Oeko-Tex , standard 100, 10.0.16395). In addition, all our wallpaper has aFREE-PVC certification seal.
Now that you have more information, your purchase will be with greater awareness. We believe that even the decoration of our walls and intimate spaces, no matter how small, should be conscious.
At Pasquín we have already adopted responsibility with workers, users and our planet. The only one we have at the moment. If you also choose to be FREE-PVC, count on our work to make your spaces unique and consistent.