Authors: M. DOVJAK, Ž. KRISTL
Corresponding author: M. DOVJAK
Type of paper: Professional review paper
Issue: Volume 5 | number 1 – 2011
Abstract: The objective of the paper is to investigate the influence of PVC use in the form of building materials and to draw attention to the problems connected with the exposure of people to PVC emitted phthalates in indoor environment. A systematic literature review is focused on health concerns associated with use of PVC building materials in everyday life and in extraordinary circumstances. The overview of studies indicates that the use of PVC in indoor environment has adverse health effects. A number of studies show association between phthalates and asthma, allergies and respiratory effects. A number of studies also focused on carcinogenic effect and impact of PVC on reproductive system. The most exposed population is young children and certain groups of adults during occupational exposure. The overview of studies on the influence of PVC materials in case of fire shows that when burning, PVC releases hydrogen chloride gas and other harmful combustion products. As a result, a list of recommendations for healthier built environment is systematically unfolded. Recommendations include actions during the whole life cycle of PVC material. Among them the most important are: adoption and implementation of regulations and standards on the marketing and use of phthalates in building materials; production and use of safer alternatives; fire safety and implementation of waste management. Further measurements of phthalate release from PVC building materials and additional research of health impacts are needed to achieve a uniform opinion about health risks associated with phthalates.