In the January issue of the membership magazine „Nachrichten aus der Chemie“ (‚Chemistry News‘) from the German Chemical Society (GDCh), the chemists Natalia P. Iveleva and Reinhard Nießner present data including the results of their pilot study on microplastic particles in Lake Garda. According to these results, the Italian freshwater lake is, as is the case with maritime systems, mainly contaminated with plastics such as PS (45.6%), PE (43.1%) and PP (9.8%). The report states that fragments of non-floating polymers such as PA and PVC were detected in small and very small microplastic particles but not in megaplastics, macroplastics and large microplastics. It goes on to declare that PVC is considered to be one of the five most toxic plastics due to the fact that the monomer is carcinogenic and PVC contains a lot of additives.
The fact that this article has been published by the German Chemical Society is particularly annoying given that the society should actually know better. AGPU therefore plans to take a stand against the article in a written statement. Dr Reichwald von Baerlocher brought the article to our attention together with the following quotation: „PVC is not toxic. The toxicological properties of a polymer cannot be inferred from the properties of the monomer. Toxicity is also not defined by the number of additives in a substance. PVC is used in a multitude of products. Alongside applications in the field of construction, the plastic is also used in pipes for drinking water, packaging films that come into contact with food and in the field of medical engineering. This clearly shows that it is a safe material that does not pose any health risks. The same applies to the additives used in PVC.“