Australia's Olympic Coordination Authority has refused to rule out use of PVC in facilities constructed for the 2000 Olympics, despite a restriction included in environmental guidelines used to secure the Olympic bid. Sydney, Australia's environmental guidelines for the 2000 Olympics include ``minimizing, and ideally avoiding, the use of chlorine-based products such as PVC.''
Australia's plastics industry was angered by the specific mention of PVC, which it blamed on Greenpeace Australia's long-running campaign to ban PVC. Following requests from the plastics industry, the Sydney-based Olympic Coordination Authority clarified its position.
In a statement, OCA said all building materials for Olympics facilities will be subject to ``impartial environmental scrutiny.'' All building components will be ``uniformly subject to life-cycle costing and consideration of environmental implications.
``The environmental guidelines represent a performance-based approach and are not a prescriptive set of rules. ... It is not the intent to prejudicially single out for exclusion any particular product or material.''
Australia's Plastics & Chemicals Industries Association has commissioned scientific and economic studies into PVC.
A report by the Australian Government's Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization states ``the adverse and environmental effects of using PVC in building products are very small, and no greater than those of other materials.
``The balance of evidence suggests that there is no alternative material to PVC in its major building product application that has less overall effect on the environment,'' the report said.
The report was based on scientific literature and reports by government agencies and universities throughout the world.
Sydney-based scientific consultants BIS Shrapnel Pty. Ltd. estimated that avoiding PVC in Sydney's Olympic facilities would add about A$12 million (US$9.48 million) to construction costs.
Denise Boyd, a campaigner for Sydney-based Greenpeace, said Australia's plastics industry is placing a lot of pressure on the Olympic Coordination Authority.
``If there is any weakening of the interpretation of the guidelines Greenpeace will be there to remind them of their responsibilities,'' she said. ``We will remind them that the commitments made were an integral part of winning the bid.''
Boyd said there is a growing body of international evidence that PVC is a major danger to the environment and to human health.