DIOXIN EMISSIONS OF MATERIALS
Measured emissions to air of different materials during lifetime.
All figures expressed in microgram I-TEQ per ton material
As you can see, any production, recycling, (incidental) fire or incineration gives dioxins, PVC not more than other materials. From a lot of other materials, the amount of dioxins emitted in certain circumstances is not even measured. Why should you exchange PVC for alternatives to prevent dioxin emissions? The amount of dioxins, emitted by incinerators is completely depending on the quality of the incinerator, not on the amount of chlorine at the input. See Chlorine input and dioxin emissions. If all incinerators will fulfill the European law (stack gases below 0.1 ng/m3 I-TEQ), then the amount of dioxins emitted per ton will be below 1 microgram per ton incinerated.
PVC and other chlorinated materials are accused to contain dioxins. In fact that was so for relatively important amounts in chlorinated phenols and related chemicals, but nowadays the formation of dioxins is prevented, or they are removed, before the products are coming on the market. In other chlorinated products, no detectable amounts of dioxin are found when the product leaves the factory.
Recent investigations in the US and Europe, where lots of musters of fresh PVC-powder were tested, confirms this. But with dust containing dioxins flowing everywhere, the dioxin content of any product augments with time. This is the case for all plastics and for paper. This is also the case for dry cleaning: the solvent contains much more dioxins after use, from all dust washed out of the clothes. General dust may also be the reason that recycled cardboard and paper contains much more dioxin than fresh paper, even if unbleached or 'chlorine-free' fibres were used. Or maybe it is the influence of moulds?
Next table will give you an impression of amounts of dioxin in several materials and processes:
Dioxin found in different materials. All figures as microgram I-TEQ/ton.
|Different kinds of paper:|
|Recycled linerboard (chlorine free):||2.5|
|Totally chlorine free (TCF) Kraftpaper:||0.35|
|Deinked recyclepulp (newsprint):||0.19|
|Bleached Kraft (ECF):||0.01|
|House furnace filter dust:||170|
|Vacuum cleaner dust:||8.3||12|
|Clothes dryer lint:||2.4||6.0|
Comment: As you can see, there are no chlorine-free or dioxin-free materials. And 'totally chlorine free paper' not only doesn't exist, it contains at least 35 times more dioxin than paper, made by modern chlorine/chlorinedioxyde bleaching. See also Chlorine and paper bleaching.
The German PVC producer Vinnolit has made a comparison, based on real dioxin measurements, of the emissions from the whole lifetime of windowframes. The figures are for Germany (the real measurements in The Netherlands for PVC and wood are even more in favour of PVC!):
Dioxin emissions from the production processes and (partly) incineration of disposed windowframes.
All figures in ng I-TEQ dioxin per windowframe:
|PVC (15 kg):||18||4||22|
|Steel (10 kg):||30||30|
|PVC + steel:||48||4||52|
|Wood (17 kg):||47||20||67|
|Aluminium (19 kg):||285||285|
Dioxin emissions from the energy production
All figures in MJ for energy and ng I-TEQ dioxin per windowframe:
|Material||energy use||dioxin emission|
|PVC incl. steel:||910||0.02-4.2|
The amount of dioxins, emitted by energy production strongly depends of the energy source used. There are also very broad differences due to the quality of the firing for producing energy.
The only quantitative measurement of dioxin emissions from a PVC warehouse fire gives, calculated for one windowframe ca. 65 ng of dioxins. Measurements on wood fires are also in the same order of magnitude. Because less than one house on one thousand will catch fire, this is in both cases neglible.
Source: "Schadstoffbilanzen - eine Quelle von Überaschungen!" (German: A balance of toxics, a source of surprices!) .
You are at level two of the Chlorophiles pages.
Created: April 8, 1996.
Last update: September 28, 1999.
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For any comment on emissions of dioxins from material production, use, recycling, disposal or incineration or on other Chlorophiles pages:Chlorophiles@ping.be