Sound barrier walls play an important role in mitigating the impact of noise pollution. They are commonly constructed using a variety of materials, including polyvinyl chloride or PVC. While PVC has been a popular choice due to its affordability and durability, there are significant dangers associated with its use.
Sound Fighter Systems understands the dangers of using PVC, which is why our team has opted for a more sustainable option. Our sound barrier wall offerings are based on a PVC-free approach, which is a superior choice compared to other industry options. Our panels are made using a proprietary panel design, uniquely designed using the most effective sound absorption technology in the world.
In this article, we cover the environmental and health concerns of using PVC in soundproofing and sound barrier wall systems. We’ll go over the hazards and limitations of PVC as a soundproofing material and why a PVC-free solution is better.
PVC and Its Use in Soundproofing Systems
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a versatile synthetic plastic material widely employed in various construction applications, including soundproofing systems. It is derived from petroleum and is appreciated for its cost-effectiveness and resilience.
In the soundproofing industry, PVC is often used to create sound barrier walls, thanks primarily to it’s relatively inexpensive cost to produce. These PVC-based sound barriers are designed to shield communities, homes, and highways from the adverse effects of noise pollution, offering a less-expensive option to control sound in urban and industrial environments.
While PVC can offer some benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness and durability, there are also potential dangers and concerns associated with its use in sound barrier walls. It is essential to carefully consider the potential risks and drawbacks associated with using PVC and weigh them against the benefits when making decisions surrounding construction and materials.
Hazards of Using PVC in Sound Barrier Walls
There has been a growing movement towards finding more eco-friendly and health-conscious alternatives to PVC for sound barrier walls. In 2020, Cancer Spectrums, an academic journal, released a report outlining the dangers of PVC on human health.
According to this report, even an acute exposure to this material can cause people to lose consciousness. Longer exposures can be more devastating, such as lung and kidney irritation, and in worse-case scenarios, it can cause a rare form of liver cancer.
Direct exposure to vinyl chloride is one of many risk factors one has to consider. The same study also reports that living within ten miles of any facility producing PVC increases one’s exposure to the material and may contribute to the development of cancer after years of sustained exposure.
PVC contains additives, such as plasticizers and stabilizers, which can leach out over time and pose health risks when they come into contact with the environment or are inhaled or ingested. In addition, it contains phthalates, a group of chemicals commonly used as plasticizers in PVC, which are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to various health problems, especially in children and pregnant women.
As mentioned earlier, PVC is made from petroleum-based materials. The production of this compound can contribute to environmental issues, including the release of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gasses. PVC is not biodegradable and poses challenges for disposal and recycling, potentially leading to long-term environmental pollution.
Limited Sound Insulation
PVC is not as effective in blocking sound as some other materials specifically designed for soundproofing. Its acoustic properties might not meet the requirements for effective noise reduction, limiting its performance when used in sound barrier walls.
Fire hazards associated with PVC in sound barrier walls are another concern. When PVC materials catch fire, they release a cocktail of toxic gasses and smoke, including hydrogen chloride and dioxins, which are hazardous to human health.
Hydrogen chloride is highly corrosive and can cause respiratory distress when inhaled, potentially leading to severe lung injuries. Dioxins, on the other hand, are known for their extreme toxicity and can have long-lasting health effects, including cancer and reproductive issues.
When PVC catches on fire, it exacerbates the risks and challenges for firefighters, as it can generate intense heat. Further, the chemical reactions also obscure visibility, producing thick smoke and increasing the release of toxic substances into the atmosphere. This not only endangers the safety of individuals near the fire but also complicates firefighting efforts.
Sound Fighter Systems’ PVC-Free Approach
At Sound Fighter Systems, our team commits to safety and sustainability in the field of noise barrier wall construction. We have taken an innovative PVC-free approach that prioritizes environmental responsibility and public well-being, developing a proprietary barrier panel design exclusively engineered to offer the world’s most effective sound absorption technology.
Our sound barriers are crafted from decades-proven weatherproof materials. We are proud to offer systems that are rust-proof and non-corrosive, providing exceptional durability, even in the most challenging outdoor environments. This unique design eliminates the need for ongoing painting and maintenance, reducing environmental impact and long-term costs.