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What is the difference between vinyl and PVC?

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Quick Answer

Vinyl and PVC are two names for the same product. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is a chlorine and ethylene compound used to make an odorless, solid plastic.

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Full Answer

PVC is a versatile plastic that can be used to make hundreds of products. In its rigid form, it is found in pipes, siding and windows. When softened by the addition of phthalates, vinyl is used in medical supplies such as intravenous tubes, catheters and blood bags. Vinyl consumer products include toys, upholstery, plastic bags and credit cards.

Environmentalists and health researchers have expressed concern about the phthalates used in making soft and flexible PVC products, suggesting that they harm the environment and human health.

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