Poll

Would you replace your test leads and wiring to one that is not PVC based, like silicone or polypropylene?

Yes
12 (57.1%)
No
9 (42.9%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Author Topic: PVC and you  (Read 8137 times)

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Offline saturation

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PVC and you
« on: December 14, 2010, 09:08:39 pm »
In the past 2 years, many electronics manufacturers have pledged to phase out PVC in their products.

http://www.chemsec.org/rohs/market-overview/company-statements

For DIY designs and hobbyists, PVC is most commonly present as the insulator in wiring, and PVC insulated wire is one of the most economical wires to buy.  Its is so widespread, you'll likely get a PVC coated wire by default when shopping for wire; you'd have to look for alternative insulators purposefully.

This is not a major problem unless you burn PVC [ as it releases toxic byproducts like HCl acid and maybe dioxin] or one makes repeated contact with the wires [ the plasticizer has been linked to a hormone like effect] and ingest the chemical from your fingers.

Fluke and other makers have provided silicone based test leads in their DMM for some time.

Knowing this would you discard or replace all your test leads and wiring to any non-PVC alternative, such as silicone or polypropylene?

Note, silicone wire cost about 2x more per foot than PVC and polypropylene about 0.2x 1.2x more, but they are not easy to find.  PVC usage is not part of RoHS compliance.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 04:24:14 pm by saturation »
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Offline JohnS_AZ

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2010, 09:17:47 pm »
All of my test leads and jumpers are either silicone or rubber. I've tossed all the cheap PVC stuff. This is mostly because silicone and rubber wires never develop a permanent curl, coil, or bend, and behave well hanging on test lead rack. Further, my experience is that good test lead wire usually has higher quality copper wire in the core than the cheap-assed stuff (many more strands of much finer wire).
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 09:22:55 pm »
In some places, they use PVC plumbing for drinking water. I don't think it's that much of a problem.
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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2010, 09:44:05 pm »
I would throw away any PVC leads and replace them with silicone any time. The reason is that silicone is heat resistant and therefore I dont risk burning insulation off by mistake with the soldering iron. I have an ICON station, the lead connecting the pen with the station is heat resistant, but it doesn't look like its common silicone; its a bit too reflective for silicone. Not sure what other alternatives there are to replace good old PVC.
 

Offline XynxNet

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2010, 11:56:08 pm »
Knowing this would you discard or replace all your test leads and wiring to any non-PVC alternative, such as silicone or polypropylene?

No, replacing perfectly working things just produces waste. I don't expect my stuff to get burned and disposing them would just accelerate their way to potential hazardous waste disposal.
If I had to buy new stuff, I might consider the problem.
 

Offline Zyvek

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2010, 12:11:33 am »
Are the leads that you hold made of PVC, or just the wire insulators? Even if they ar how long/often would you have to hold them for the "exposure" to be a factor?  I'd feel differently if I were regularly tasting them  ;D or testing high voltage/current.  I also still love my lead based solder so that probably says enough!
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Offline squeezee

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 04:03:20 am »
The long term health effects of PVC in my wiring is down near the bottom of my list of things I care about, right along with multimeter stickers. :P
I'll take sillicone over PVC test leads for the reasons already mentioned tho.

Keep in mind that these companies sell millions of products and ship millions of tons of plastic, so yeah for them environmental effects are something to be concerned about. More importantly there is the possiblity of regulations being passed limiting the use of PVC or certain constituent chemicals, so it's in their financial interest to explore alternatives.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 11:48:18 am »
Alas, there is also the problem of simply having enough of them at home or in your lab, as the chemicals may vaporize, and then concentrate. Studies show that different industries have different airborne levels and different concentrations.

For example in the home:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677823/?tool=pubmed

See graph.

Then assays done on general population exposures.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12708228

Its not settled, but while ingestion is acceptable way to intake plastcizer, there is unproven suggestion one inhales its vapors as the amount of soft PVC material in homes rise.



« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 12:06:55 pm by saturation »
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Offline saturation

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 12:05:52 pm »
Some general comments:


If the manufacturers make a change, this will reduce new PVC production into products.  But but your exposure won't change until the PVC you are in contact with is removed.

Keep in mind that these companies sell millions of products and ship millions of tons of plastic, so yeah for them environmental effects are something to be concerned about. More importantly there is the possiblity of regulations being passed limiting the use of PVC or certain constituent chemicals, so it's in their financial interest to explore alternatives.

I don't know.  But the side issue is the vaporization; if you have it around, it will expose you.  See post with reference links.

Are the leads that you hold made of PVC, or just the wire insulators? Even if they ar how long/often would you have to hold them for the "exposure" to be a factor?  I'd feel differently if I were regularly tasting them  ;D or testing high voltage/current.  I also still love my lead based solder so that probably says enough!

A problem is mostly on soft PVC used in the home or lab spaces: such as wire insulation, shower curtains, tarps etc., for buried pipes and conduits, the PVC is typically without plasticizer.

In some places, they use PVC plumbing for drinking water. I don't think it's that much of a problem.

This is a good point, the only dilemma you face is whether to keep the potential exposure to yourself and others in your lab or home while the material is there, or make it the government's problem.

No, replacing perfectly working things just produces waste.



Many: polyester, polyprophylene, teflon, tefzel, etc., what made PVC popular is per pound, was the lowest cost to manufacture; however decades later the cost manufacture alternatives are almost as cheap, if the manufacturers can offset retooling costs to use the new material.

... Not sure what other alternatives there are to replace good old PVC.
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Offline PetrosA

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 12:40:58 pm »
For me the issue isn't one of health, but practicality. I keep my testers in my truck and when it gets cold out, PVC insulation gets rock hard. I have either silicone or some other soft/temp resistant insulation on my test leads. I have two chargers for cordless tools made by German companies (Hilti and Metabo) that become almost useless in the winter because you can't uncoil the cords on them. I'd call that dickhead design ;)
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Offline Time

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 04:19:15 pm »

and polypropylene 0.2x more, but they are not easy to find.


Are you saying it costs 80% less or it costs 20% more (1.20x)?

If PVC was considered to be a major environmental pollutant I might lean towards alternatives but since its simply for my own health I am less likely.  Hey, we all have to die sometime.
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Offline saturation

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 04:23:44 pm »
Yes, 1.2x, 20% more.  Corrected on original post. 

Sure we all die, but if you can manipulate your due date, why rush?



and polypropylene 0.2x more, but they are not easy to find.


Are you saying it costs 80% less or it costs 20% more (1.20x)?

If PVC was considered to be a major environmental pollutant I might lean towards alternatives but since its simply for my own health I am less likely.  Hey, we all have to die sometime.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 04:30:47 pm by saturation »
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Offline Frant

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2010, 06:47:00 pm »
I would throw away any PVC leads and replace them with silicone any time. The reason is that silicone is heat resistant and therefore I dont risk burning insulation off by mistake with the soldering iron. I have an ICON station, the lead connecting the pen with the station is heat resistant, but it doesn't look like its common silicone; its a bit too reflective for silicone. Not sure what other alternatives there are to replace good old PVC.
Teflon FEP (chemically similar to PTFE) is another frequently used heat resistant insulating material. It has good mechanical properties. For more information, see http://www2.dupont.com/Teflon_Industrial/en_US/products/product_by_name/teflon_fep/index.html
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2010, 06:53:32 pm »
A problem is mostly on soft PVC used in the home or lab spaces: such as wire insulation, shower curtains, tarps etc., for buried pipes and conduits, the PVC is typically without plasticizer.
Yes hard PVC is essentially inert and harmless is the softeners that can cause health problems.

As far as I'm aware plasticisers only present a problem when used inside the human body do as long as you don't chew them it shouldn't be a problem. The only PVC products you should consider throwing away are teething rings, dog toys and dildos, although the latter should be fine if used with a condom.
 

Offline Neilm

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2010, 07:20:11 pm »
Silicone usually has better insulation properties than PVC. We produce insulation testers at work and have been using silicone leads for ages, it makes them smaller and reduces the leakage if the leads touch each other.

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Offline Time

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2010, 07:25:17 pm »
Yes hard PVC is essentially inert and harmless is the softeners that can cause health problems.

As far as I'm aware plasticisers only present a problem when used inside the human body do as long as you don't chew them it shouldn't be a problem. The only PVC products you should consider throwing away are teething rings, dog toys and dildos, although the latter should be fine if used with a condom.

As long as its not a pvc condom.
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Offline Zyvek

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2010, 11:33:19 pm »
-Z
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: PVC and you
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2010, 12:01:09 am »
Here's an article about the dangers of PVC dildos which should be banned.
http://www.grist.org/article/gertz1/

I hope PVC condoms aren't made, I'll  ensure I only buy latex from now on.
 


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