Level 1 B-BBEE / Certified: ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 9001
Technical Bulletins

Lead free stabilisers for PVC Cables

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is known to degrade upon heating. Stabilizers are used to limit the degradation. Traditionally stabilizers containing Lead (Pb) were used. CBI-electric: African Cables now offers Lead Free PVC as the norm. This bulletin serves to highlight the benefits of switching  to lead free stabilizers.

Because of its inherent excellent dielectric properties, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) has proved to be a particularly effective polymer for use in cable insulation, bedding and sheathing. The insulation characteristics of PVC degrade significantly with higher temperatures, and these can be exacerbated further by the inclusion of moisture and polar components. In order, to counteract the degradation, traditionally lead stabilizers have been added to the PVC compounds.

The handling of lead stabilizers present exposure hazards, and comes within the scope of prescribed practice and regulation limits for occupational exposure of workers to lead (eg in South Africa 40μg/100 ml).

In South Africa, there is no legislation demanding that the wire and cable industry, should switch to lead free stabilizers. However, CBI-electric: African Cables has decided to adopt Lead Free stabilizers, in line with other industries who have switched to lead free petrol and lead free paints. The cost premium of using Lead Free stabilizers is absorbed.

Lead Free Stabilizers has been introduced into all PVC compounds produced at CBI-electric: African Cables from May 2005.


Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations (85 of 1993)