[GRRN] PVC is a key consumer of Chlorine

From: Stephanie C. Davis (ScD18@WasteReductionRemedies.com)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 18:25:41 EDT

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    Note: PVC is a major plastics component of the healthcare (hospital) waste
    stream. -Stephanie

    > The most recent issue of the American Chemical Society's Chemical and
    > Engineering News contained a figure about uses of chlorine in the U.S.
    > in a news story about a corporate merger. . . . some interesting facts:
    > --About 42 % of chlorine used in the U.S. is used for manufacture of
    > PVC.
    > --About 5% of chlorine use is for bleaching pulp for paper products.
    > --About 23% of chlorine use is for manufacture of inorganic chemicals
    > (like table salt) and for treating drinking water and waste water.
    > (These activities are relatively unlikely to be associated with dioxins
    > releases.)
    > The reason that chlorine use is interesting for our project is that the
    > presence of chlorine is a necessary component for dioxins formation,
    > whether in a manufacturing or a combustion process. Many of the dioxins
    > release sources on the EPA's national dioxins inventory are associated
    > with chlorinated chemical manufacture. I did not realize that such
    > manufacture, especially for PVC, was such a large portion of all
    > commercial chlorine use.
    > Increased environmental levels of chlorine in recent decades are
    > associated with chlorinated chemical use, which became a significant
    > activity in the middle of this century. "Organic" chlorine uses (those
    > where chlorine is part of a carbon-based compound) are more likely than
    > "inorganic" chlorine uses (primarily salt-type uses) to cause chlorine
    > to be in a chemical form that is toxic to humans or the environment.
    > (The exception to this is highly toxic chlorine gas, an "inorganic" form
    > of chlorine often used for water disinfection and bleaching [where
    > organic chlorine is then formed], but falling out of favor because of
    > accident risks and stringent safety planning requirements). As you may
    > know, some environmental groups (notably Greenpeace) are calling for a
    > phase out of chlorine use--this campaign is aimed primarily at uses that
    > result in creation of or environmental releases of organic chlorine
    > chemicals.

            Stephanie  C. Davis - BFA, MPA
        Experienced Professional of Healthcare &
    Non-Residential Waste Programs

    Waste Reduction Remedies sm A Multi-Waste Stream, Multi-Material Waste Management Company

    1497 Hopkins Street #2D Berkeley CA 94702-1201 Telephone: 510/527-8864 Pacific Time Fax: 510/526-6218 (MUST INCLUDE MY NAME & TELEPHONE #) E-mail: ScD18@WasteReductionRemedies.com

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