What is PVA?

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What is PVA?
PVA or polyvinyl alcohol is a synthetic form of polymer that has no color, no odor, and can be dissolved in water. Much of PVA is used in the textile and paper industries. These synthetic polymers provide strength to sheets of textiles and helps paper products resist stains from greases and/or oily products. This particular chemical compound is also considered a “non-toxic” product owing to its wide use in a variety of products and industries. Aside from its non-toxic property, polyvinyl alcohol is also a bio-degradable product. 100% of this chemical compound is degradable and quickly dissolves in water.

In the paper industry, polyvinyl alcohol is used in the making of adhesives and paper boards. This chemical compound may also be used to thicken or modify polymer glues or glues made with polyvinyl acetate. PVAs may also be used as paper coating to increase its tensile strength and prevent easy tear or breakage. The plastic industry also utilizes PVAs in a wide variety of products including the manufacture of softdrink PET or polyethylene terephthalate bottles. Some feminine hygiene pads and diaper products also make use of polyvinyl alcohol particularly on the backing sheets.

Polyvinyl alcohol is also the main substance in making eye drops and cleaning solutions for people who have contact lenses. In eye drop products, PVA serves to lubricate the eyes and relieve discomfort from dry eyes. For people who have problems with their tear glands, PVA may also serve as “artificial tears”. Dosage for using PVA as an eye drop product usually depends on gender, age, patient’s illness or condition, and his/her response to this form of medication. But as with other drugs, polyvinyl alcohol in eye drop products may also cause some side effects such as redness in the eyes, pain and/or discomfort in the eye area, and possible changes to the sight or vision. In cases where any form of pain or discomfort is felt, patients are advised to immediately seek medical help.

Other uses of PVA include as an embolization agent in the field of medicine, as reinforcement for concrete, as a film in a printing process involving water transfer, and as part of the chemical mixture in making rubber gloves resistant to some chemicals.

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