PVC Controversy

Over the recent years, there have been many questions about the safety of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). In this case study, Hitachi Cable Manchester assesses both sides of the PVC controversy.


Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM) produces a wide variety of copper and fiber-based data communication, telecommunication, industrial Ethernet, robotic and signal, and control cables. HCM’s 300,000 square feet facility, with state-of-the art manufacturing and engineering technology, produces both standardized and custom cable products, designed to meet each customer’s unique needs.

Hitachi Cable Manchester’s Production Floor
In this photo: Hitachi Cable Manchester’s production floor within their 300,000 square foot state-of-the –art facility.

The major issue that HCM has dealt with throughout its history involves the materials used to produce its cable products. Are these materials safe, in both short term and long term for human use? Just as in any other industry, material safety is at the forefront of development and innovation.

Is the plastic cup you give to your child safe to drink from? What happens to a plastic bag after it is discarded? Does it become toxic as it deteriorates? When old PCs are disposed of, can the materials they’re made of, harm the environment if they are not disposed of properly? These are the kind of questions manufacturers and distributors deal with every day. . 

Joe Iamartino, Director of New Business Development at Hitachi Cable Manchester

HCM’s goal is to produce the next generation cable products for medical, telecom, computers, multimedia, and industrial solutions. Yet in many cases, there is no clear answer from the scientific community regarding safety of available material used to create these products. One of the biggest controversies is with HCM’s most widely used material – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).

Even though PVC is the most widely used cable insulating material in the world, there are some questions about its safety. Although extremely flame retardant, when PVC burns, it releases a toxic gas that can burn human lungs. Some PVC compounds may contain a material called phthalate. There have been studies indicating that if PVC is not disposed of properly, these phthalates can migrate into ground water and allegedly cause reproductive problems in both animals and humans.

In this video: Joe Iamartino, Director of New Business Development at Hitachi Cable Manchester discusses the leadership position of Hitachi Cable Manchester and how they adapt to the ever-changing technical environment. (0:48)
(interviewed in May, 2011)

Continue reading this Hitachi case study in the next sections to find how Hitachi Cable Manchester assessed both sides of the PVC controversy.

Teknor Apex

Diversified material science


Release Date:
July, 2011, prior to the merger of Hitachi Cable Manchester with Hitachi Cable America

Products & Services:
RoHS-compliant cables and cable products

Solutions By:
Hitachi Cable Manchester

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