EPA Urged to Classify PVC as Hazardous Waste

By February 26, 2023March 7th, 2023Gulf of Mexico

Numerous groups, including Turtle Island Restoration Network, urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to classify polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, in a letter sent to Washington, D.C. The groups implored the EPA to reduce the threats to human health and the environment as a result from the improper disposal of PVC.

With approximately 7 billion pounds of PVC discarded annually in the country, the groups urged of the importance of the need to address the dangers of PVC. Toxic chemicals and carcinogens are released into the air, water, and food web throughout its lifecycle. Humans suffer from exposure to PVC and its additives, and the effects can include reproductive harm, hormone disruptions, abnormal brain and reproductive development, obesity, insulin resistance, and damage to the organs.

Tackling this issue will also help in the fight against plastic pollution and the disastrous effects on the marine environment. Plastic consumption affects nearly half of existing seabird and cetacean species, all marine turtles and many ecologically and commercially important fish, shellfish, grasses and corals. Plastic pollution accumulating in the oceans is predicted to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050.

Policymakers have implemented few practical measures to address the problem of PVC so far, and the PVC was urged to promptly exercise its authority to ensure the safe disposal of PVC and management of the associated chemical substances. You can read the letter in its entirety here.