Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. Over 50% of PVC manufactured is used in construction, because it is cheap, durable, and easy to assemble.
PVC piping, first introduced in 1952, is the largest single market for PVC. Roughly half of the world's polyvinyl chloride resin manufactured annually is used for producing pipes. Its light weight, high strength, and low reactivity make it particularly well-suited for pipes in various municipal and industrial applications as well as for sanitary sewer pipes. PVC is biologically and chemically resistant, making it the plastic of choice for most household sewerage pipes and other pipe applications where corrosion would limit the use of metal.
With the addition of impact modifiers and stabilizers, PVC becomes a popular material for window and door frames. By adding plasticizers, it can become flexible enough to be used in cabling applications as insulation on electric wires. PVC fabric is waterproof and commonly used in raincoats, shoes, jackets and bags.
PVC has a long history of safe medical applications and has helped saving many patients in intensive medical care. PVC applications in medical tubings, blood bags and a host of other applications in medical equipments are widely acknowledged contributions of the material to mankind.