Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the world's third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer. About 40 million tons of PVC are produced each year.
PVC comes in two basic forms: rigid and flexible. The rigid form of PVC is used in construction for pipe and in profile applications such as doors and windows. It is also used in making bottles, non-food packaging, food-covering sheets, and cards. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates. In this form, it is also used in plumbing, electrical cable insulation, imitation leather, flooring, signage, phonograph records, inflatable products, and many applications where it replaces rubber. With cotton or linen, it is used in the production of canvas.