FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Seattle Rejects PVC Pipe in Favor of Environmentally Friendly Choice
Press Release: City of Seattle Rejects PVC Pipe in Favor of Environmentally Friendly Choice
The Healthy Building Network and Washington Toxics Coalition today applauded the decision by the City of Seattle to substitute 34,000 feet of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The HDPE pipe will be used for drainage in a sports park.
The decision to reject PVC, initiated by Seattle's Department of Parks and Recreation, is a part of the City's 2002 Purchasing Resolution to reduce or eliminate the purchase of products that result in the creation or release of persistent, bioaccumulative, toxics (PBTs), including PVC building materials.
Seattle's official announcement cited concerns with PVC manufacturing and disposal, which are major sources of dioxin, a known human carcinogen.
"Seattle's decision sends a strong message to the marketplace that big purchasers want healthier alternatives to PVC," said Matthew Cacho, NW Coordinator for the Healthy Building Network.
According to a recent study commissioned by the San Francisco Office of the Environment, high density polyethylene is a preferred plastic alternative to PVC because it releases far less persistent toxic pollution over the material's life-cycle from production, through use, and ultimately disposal. The report also determined that high density polyethylene is much easier to recycle than PVC piping.
"The San Francisco report confirmed that we need to choose materials that are both healthy for people and recyclable to create a truly sustainable material culture," said Cacho.
Brandie Smith, environmental health advocate with the Washington Toxics Coalition said "We are proud of the national leadership role the city has taken in eliminating persistent toxic pollution by changing its purchasing practices."
City of Seattle architects and engineers are enthusiastic about this change. Jim Ishihara,Park Engineer explained, "HDPE is less prone to cracking and easier to install. The fact that there are no solvent glues used in the joining process will be a real boost to worker health and safety."
Richard Gelb, the Parks Sustainable Building Coordinator, hopes other departments will consider changing their standards so HDPE piping will replace PVC piping for drainage applications. "It's a benefit to everyone when the environmentally friendly choice is also the best performance choice," Gelb said.
Washington Toxics Coalition
206-632-1545 ext. 122
Healthy Building Network