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View Full Version : Heating Vinyls / PVC Materials and Toxic Dioxins



Brian Geers
06-22-2011, 6:37 AM
Where can I go to get expert advice on heating Vinyl/PVC Products past the heat range listed on the data sheet?

I am butting heads with someone right now regarding heating "Sign" vinyl to 300 plus degrees in a heat press when the data sheet gives an upper range of 150 degrees. From what I have read and have been told, dioxins will be released if you heat vinyls past their heat range. This could be a huge health risk if the heat press is heating up sign vinyl in smaller rooms or offices.

The topic gets confusing when car wraps are done all the time by using heating torches, etc... I have heard that people that do car wrap are aware of dioxins being released but are less concerned because usually a car wrap is done in out in an open area.

To add to the confusion, some vinyls are meant to handle higher temperatures like heat press vinyl for apparel so the assumption is being made, by this person, that it's OK to heat press all vinyls now.....

This person is also saying that dioxins are only released when vinyl is burned like in a laser but again I have read that simply heating vinyl will release dioxins.

I made it to a couple different forums and it seams people are split right down the middle on the topic. Half the people say relax/no big deal and the other half get really wound up over it saying this is a very toxic thing to do!

Are there any experts on this topic here? Or what have you heard?

Thank you,

Brian

Rodne Gold
06-22-2011, 7:07 AM
I Recon if it melts or burns or vaporises , its unsafe...

Dan Hintz
06-22-2011, 7:27 AM
Rodney is on track... there has to be a significant off-gassing before things become a problem. While heating with a gun may release something, it is extremely minimal, comparatively speaking... now if the heat gun was held in one place for a long time, it would start to break down. But by then, the wrap would be worthless.

Joe Pelonio
06-22-2011, 9:02 AM
Rodney and Dan are right, when doing wraps or removing old vinyl lettering the heat gun is constantly moving and held far enough away as to avoid too much heat which would distort it before it would outgas. Even on rivets.

Brian Geers
06-22-2011, 10:05 AM
Than you for the feedback!

This person is using the car wrap argument as the reason why you can put sign vinyl into a heat press and heat it up to 300 plus degrees in a small room with less ventilation.

http://aquaticpath.umd.edu/appliedtox/wendy.pdf

Based on the article above, it's hard to draw a line on what is safe or unsafe.....

Michael Hunter
06-22-2011, 7:39 PM
From the article, it would appear that PVC is perfectly safe in normal use unless you heat it up, or suck on it.

Go with your instinct and don't heat it! At 300 deg you could expect a nasty stick mess, regardless of any fumes etc.

Scott Shepherd
06-22-2011, 8:21 PM
I didn't pick up anything about heating it up. Did I miss something in the article? I picked up this part :

PVC poses two major hazards during itís lifecycle
1. Its manufacture and incineration produce dioxin

I wouldn't say heating it with a heat gun is considered incineration. Burning it with a laser, I would consider incineration.

Larry Bratton
06-22-2011, 9:20 PM
Be advised that many times the product referred to as vinyl used for pressing to garments, is not vinyl per se. Some of it, maybe all, is polypropylene. For example the product I posted about here a few days ago, Stahls Cad Cut Premium Plus is polypropylene, but still may be referred to as vinyl. It is marketed as containing no pvc. It is pressed in a heat press at 300 degrees, but for a very short 8 seconds. There are some other films that also are not vinyl, but carry that handle. I know that Ecofilm sold by Imprintables also is not vinyl (I called them and asked them, was told it was polypropylene) The behavior of these materials in a heat press is nothing like what you would have pressing sign vinyl, like the Oracal products for example.