Polyvinyl chloride, which is also called PVC, harms photographs. Yet, it is not always clear whether a specific product contains PVC, and labels may be misleading. One indication is that the plasticizer in some PVC products smells like a new car. A better solution is to look for the chlorine that is present in PVC.
Here’s where a bit of chemistry comes into play. This chlorine reacts with copper wire to produce a green flame, so all that is required to identify PVC is an open flame (a gas stove works well) and a piece of copper wire. Wrap the suspect material around the copper wire, heat, and you will now know if the material is PVC. This procedure works because photo-safe plastics do not contain chlorine. See BEILSTEIN TEST: a simple test for Halogens (Chlorides) for more details
If you don’t like this approach, you can always buy a $50,000 XRF spectrophometer.
I love the clear choices you offer, Mark!
Ditto. Hmm. What to do? Use a gas stove or buy a $50k gadget. Would it have to come out of my scrapbooking budget??
My interpretation of this is that we can no longer trust any company to just tell us whether it is safe for our photos or not so we will have to test it ourselves. What comforting news.
I just always thought it smelled bad & was kinda stiff! Like a shower curtain or plastic shoes like we used to wear in the ‘olden days’…