Pair of black PVC sandals, 1985.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
PVC is a polymer of vinyl chloride (chloroethane). It forms a rigid white solid mouldable plastic, but can be made in a flexible form if a plasticiser is added to it. PVC is tough, nonflammable, resistant to moisture, and a good electrical insulator. Uses include pipes, electrical insulators, and clothing, as well as bottles.