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pvc cement safety tips from a plumbing service

PVC cement (glue) and primer are used to soften pipes and to braze plumbing parts. Polyvinyl chloride quickly secures pieces of pipe in a process called solvent welding. First the primer is applied and then the cement for connecting the pipes. Although the adhesive dries quickly and forms a strong bond, it can be harmful if it comes in contact with skin or if inhaled.

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Polyvinyl chloride generates large amounts of fumes that can cause eye irritation, headaches, dizziness and breathing problems.

When heated, PVC products can produce HCL fumes which are toxic to humans. Prolonged exposure can damage the nervous system, eventually causing narcosis (a state of deafness or drowsiness). The use of a protective mask covering both nose and mouth is recommended. If inhalation persists, move to fresh air immediately. If symptoms such as headache and dizziness persist, consult a doctor.

Fire protection

PVC vapors are highly flammable, so there is a high risk of explosion or stabbing fire. PVC gas is also heavier than air, which causes it to settle and linger for days if the room is not well ventilated. PVC gas can also travel great distances, meaning a spark could start a large fire. It is therefore important to use PVC products in a well-ventilated area.

Eye contact

PVC fumes can cause mild irritation of the eyes and eyelids.

Accidents can cause burning, stinging, severe tearing and inflammation of the conjunctiva. Wear safety goggles when working with PVC materials to avoid eye injury. If contact occurs, flush eyes with a steady stream of water for five minutes, then get medical attention as soon as possible.

Skin contact

Skin contact may cause a red, itchy, painful rash, while prolonged and repeated exposure can lead to dermatosis (a skin condition affecting the face and neck). Gloves are therefore an important consideration before using PVC products.

If contact occurs, wash the affected area immediately with soap and water.


Ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and even liver and kidney damage cause. The hazard can be avoided by washing hands and face after handling PVC materials. If swallowed, drink two glasses of water and seek medical attention. Under no circumstances should you attempt to induce vomiting as the chemicals in PVC can combine with gastric juices to form a highly toxic gas.

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The differences between UPVC and PVC pipes

By Chris Deziel , Contractor Updated 12. January 2022 Reviewed by Gary Sprague, Master Plumber

Image credit:Toa55/iStock/GettyImagesSee more photos

In this article

The difference between PVC and PVC

PVC vs. CPVC for plumbing pipe

uPVC is rigid PVC

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC pipe has been around since the mid-20th century, but Pipes aren't the only use of PVC. It can be adapted to furniture, doors, paneling and many other building materials.

A close relative, uPVC, is an even better building material, and uPVC pipe has many advantages over PVC pipe.

The difference between PVC and uPVC

There is only The difference between PVC and uPVC is that PVC contains BPA and phthalates, which are two plasticizers that make it more flexible. The "u" in uPVC stands for "plasticizer-free," and because it does not contain these additional materials, uPVC is often referred to as a rigid plastic.

In much of the world except for the United States, uPVC is It is more commonly used for water pipes than PVC. Additional materials give uPVC superior resistance to chemical erosion, and its smooth inner walls allow for smoother water flow with less turbulence.

PVC also withstands a wider range of temperatures than PVC.

In the United States, PVC is the plastic of choice for sewer pipes and the transportation of non-potable water. However, neither PVC nor PVC are suitable for domestic water pipes. This function is fulfilled by CPVC or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride.

PVC vs.

CPVC for conduit

Like PVC, CPVC is a close relative of PVC. All three products are thermoplastics, but while uPVC is PVC that has been modified by the omission of plasticizers, CPVC has been modified by a free radical chlorination reaction that increases its chlorine content. This simple modification makes CPVC capable of withstanding higher temperatures.

PVC is rated for use in temperatures up to 140°F while CPVC is rated for temperatures up to 200°F. This makes CPVC better suited for hot water systems than PVC and it is the standard for domestic water systems in general.

Consequently, you can purchase CPVC tubing sized to match copper tubing to add copper plumbing systems. PVC, on the other hand, is only available in nominal pipe sizes that are the same as galvanized steel pipe.

When it comes to buying CPVC and PVC, you can tell them apart by their colors. CPVC pipe and fittings are off-white, while PVC pipe and fittings are white.

The two materials require different cements and solvents and should not be used together.

uPVC is rigid PVC

Due to its rigidity, uPVC is a better building material than PVC. PVC. When buying PVC decking, railings or siding, buy uPVC products, not PVC. Some sewer systems in the United States are made with uPVC pipe, but few water systems are made with it.

Chemicals that make PVC more flexible and therefore stay outside of uPVC are BPA (Biphenol A) and phthalates.


None of these are highly toxic, but neither are they completely non-toxic. BPA is only toxic in very high concentrations, while certain types of phthalates such as di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate are endocrine disruptors and can cause cancer. Despite this, many consumer products, including children's toys, are made with phthalates.

The toxicity of plasticizers may be low, but this is one of the reasons why PVC piping is not desirable for domestic drinking water transport. When you use them at home, they transport water outside, which is used for gardening and landscaping.

When you see small plastic pipes and components in doctor's or dentist's offices, they are usually made of uPVC, not PVC, and the reason for this is the presence of slightly toxic plasticizers in PVC.

Earth Care Plumbers are available to assist with plumbing emergencies 24/7/365. Just dial 8337368835 Or you can book online at

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